News Organic Sector Development

Sales of organic food higher than ever

The UK organic market is now worth £2.2bn following six years of steady growth. The Soil Association’s Market Report finds that organics now accounts for 1.5% of total UK food and drink market.

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The report from the Soil Association (who are a member of Sustain) found key areas of growth from independent retailers, whose sales increased by 9.7% in 2016- 2017, and in home delivery schemes which grew by 9.5%. Now almost 30% of all organic shopping happens online or on the high street. The rate of growth in supermarket sales is 4.2%.

Home delivery accounts for almost 13% of the organic market. Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification expects that online could reach as much as 25% in the near future:

“One of the biggest stories for organic over the past couple of years has been the rise of online shopping, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Driven by convenience, an ever broader range of choice, and by younger generations entering the market, it’s no surprise online sales are outperforming the traditional supermarket on organic.”

There is also more demand for organic food when people are eating out. Sales in 2017 rose by 10.2% reaching £84.4m. The 2017 Out to Lunch report found organic on the menu in twelve of the twenty five restaurant chains visited. This is double the results from the 2015 study – with Wetherspoons, Strada, Jamie’s Italian and Beefeater among those now using organic ingredients.

Key growth areas highlighted in the report included:
- Produce, up 6.5%, had the highest value growth, equating to over £20m in sales
- Chilled foods had impressive growth at 21%, now accounting for 3.4% of the total UK organic market
- Dairy increased sales by around 3%, and still have the highest share of the organic food and drink market at nearly 29%
- The popularity of organic wine continues to grow, with sales of beers/wines/spirits increasing by over 8% and many supermarkets expanding their ranges of wines

The Soil Association’s Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report also reveals that the organic and natural beauty market was worth £75.9 million in 2017, up 24% on the previous year, alongside a 25% growth for organic textiles.

Published Thursday 8 February 2018

Organic Sector Development: We are helping to bring the organic message to the UK consumer with the Organic. Naturally Different campaign.

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