Organic sees growth in UK

The Soil Association has released its Organic Market 2018, with results showing that dairy accounted for 28.7% of the UK’s total organic spend in 2016-17, and saw an increase of 3.1% in value for that period. Although traditional outlets have been slow to expand their organic ranges online, the report notes, “Organic products are becoming more available across a wider network of supermarkets and shops, of varying sizes, and there is an increasing number of everyday organic household brands and products. This is confirmed by figures from Nielsen showing products which represent the biggest share of their category. Nearly two thirds (59%) of baby food sold in UK supermarkets, for example, is organic.” For yogurts it’s 8.2%, while milk accounts for 5.9%.

“Organic is more available in value supermarkets too. Nearly two thirds (64%) of licensees said the most important reason why their sales increased was because they had new listings in supermarkets. Discount supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl, have been focused on getting the right range in stores at affordable prices,” according to the report.

Online sales for organic have risen by 9.5% and independent retailers have also seen 9.7% increases in sales last year. The larger online operators such as Ocado, Amazon, Riverford and Abel & Cole make up about 79% of sales through the online channels.

Another area of growth is foodservice, the report states, with the most popular products in foodservice being milk, coffee, tea, flour, yogurt, juices and ice lollies.  “Food Chain, for example, is an online platform that connects chefs and restaurants to producers of meat, fish, dairy, produce and dry goods. This is making ‘farm to kitchen’ deliveries smoother, reassuring business owners
– and customers – of the provenance of the supply chain,” according to the Soil Association.

Beliefs have been identified for the organic shopper. These include healthiness, taste and inspiration, fitting around their lifestyle, pleasure, getting value and making a statement. Another key finding for dairy was that this consumer tries alternatives to dairy for taste rather than dietary reasons, or because of fears over animal welfare or animal production techniques. That being said, the alternatives were being used alongside dairy as part of their day to day diet.

On the export side, growth in the organic market is an advancing global trend. In key countries, like the US, Germany and France, the organic market is growing by up to 10% year on year. The Soil Association notes that UK businesses have a fantastic opportunity to trade with the 180 countries who make up this international organic market, worth approximately €75 billion. “The high quality of our certification standards and weak sterling is making British organic products more exportable than ever,” it says.

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