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UK: Organic market shows improved growth

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The Soil Association’s 2015 Organic Market Report reveals sales of organic products increased by 4% in 2014. The new figures show significant growth in a year when both food prices (down 1.9%) and food spending (down 1.1%) fell. Shoppers spent an extra £1.4 million (€1.92 million) a week on organic products and the organic market exceeded £1.86 billion (€2.5 billion), bringing sales back to levels in 2009. Growth in sales across Soil Association Certification symbol holders increased by 7.7%.

Dairy products were popular among consumers

Overall, the strongest market growth was through online shopping and box schemes (11.7%) and independent retailers (5.7%) which offer the choice and convenience of extensive organic ranges in one place. More than a quarter of spending on organic products (27.9%) is in the dairy aisles with yoghurt sales increasing by 13.8%. Sales of organic eggs and poultry were up 15.8% and 8.2%, while non-organic sales dipped by 6.2% and 3.3% respectively. There were also sharp increases for a wide range of other products against a background of sliding non-organic sales including fresh fruit (up 6.4%), tea (up 13.7%), cereals (up 4.2%) and biscuits (up 7.2%). Sales of organic vegetables fell by 2%, but in a context in which non-organic sales plummeted at five times this rate. There was also significant growth in organic supply into catering, (13.6%), reflecting dynamic growth of the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark in schools, workplaces and hospitals - the market exceeded £1 million a week for the first time and is now worth £55.8 million. Health and beauty (up 20%) and textile (up 3.4%) sectors also grew in 2014.

Organic sector is investing in marketing and new products

Innovation is helping drive growth, with the organic sector investing strongly in marketing and new product development. 2014 saw more organic versions of established brands, organic recipe boxes for busy occasion shoppers and wholesalers selling direct via mainstream online shopping outlets. The organic sector is embracing innovation in a changing retail landscape with brands adding new and innovative products, keeping customers interested in the sector. The mood among organic business is confident with 63% predicting growth in 2015 and six out of ten of these (62%) anticipating double-digit growth. The 2015 Organic Market Report is available for purchase here. More information is available here.


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