Organic fresh produce sales have increased by 7.4 percent in the last year. According to new data from the Soil Association, the overall organic food market has grown by 4 percent in the 52 weeks to 1 July 2017.
Organic fruit sales have increased by 12.6 percent, whilst organic vegetable sales expanded slightly by 1.9 percent. Sales growth was even higher on individual products with organic tomatoes up 13.1 percent, organic salad up 7.9 percent since last year, and ongoing growth in organic veg boxes.
Rising sales of organic produce is being driven by growing consumer awareness of health and well-being. The Soil Association reports that 82 percent of consumers now buy at least one organic item per year, up from 79.5 percent in 2016.
Soil Association head of farming Liz Bowles said: “It’s a positive time for organics, with strong market growth and continued CAP payments helping ensure more stability for farmers. The demand for organic food is nearing an all-time high, and with ever more research showing the potential benefits of organic, the uplift in demand for organic produce comes as no surprise.
“We already know that organic fruit and veg, along with organic meat and milk, are nutritionally different from non-organic. Research for the European Parliament has recently found that organic farming can help create food systems which are good for our health, combining as many do; livestock as an integral part of organic rotations, to provide fertility for following organic crops. Organic September will build further on these great foundations.”
The figures were released alongside plans for this year’s Organic September campaign, which will include the first-ever Organic September Saturday, taking place on 16 September. Farm shops and farmers who sell direct are being encouraged to involve consumers in the celebrations and find new organic products, talk to organic farmers and growers and learn about what organic means.
The Soil Association will also highlight producers, organic farm shops and independent retailers across the country with a local map.
Ecovia Intelligence Comment
Positive growth is occurring in the organic food market, however there remain questions about supply. Organic food production in the UK is not keeping pace with demand. With uncertainty about the new trading relationship with Europe (the main exporter of organic products), future market growth rates maybe constrained by supply. Rising prices are another concern, especially since the Sterling has depreciated by about 20 percent against major foreign currencies since the Brexit vote.
Related Report: The UK Market for Natural & Organic Personal Care Products
Source: Fruitnet / Ecovia Intelligence (17/08)