The UK’s Soil Association has launched its 2016 Organic Market Report, revealing that the organic market continued steady growth of 4.9% in 2015. This is the third year of consecutive growth for the UK organic sector.
The UK’s Soil Association has launched its 2016 Organic Market Report, revealing that the organic market continued steady growth of 4.9% in 2015. This is the third year of consecutive growth for the UK organic sector, now worth £1.95 billion. Sales of organic have continued to outperform the non-organic grocery market which decreased by 0.9% in the same period.Shoppers spent an extra £1.73 million a week on organic products in 2015, and the steady rise of the organic market experienced in the UK mirrors a global trend of growth and widening interest in the organic sector. Key findings from the Organic Market Report 2016:+ Sales of organic products in the UK are worth £1.95 billionThe UK organic market has grown by 4.9%Sales of organic products in supermarkets have grown by 3.2%Organic product sales for independent retailers have increased by 7.5%Box schemes and online sales of organic products have risen by 9.1% The organic catering sector has increased by 15.2% The organic health and beauty market increased by 21.6% to £54.2million+ More than £9 million is now spent on organic food through the Soil Association Catering Mark, an increase of 28.5%Organic has a 1.4% share of the food and drink marketThis year’s figures highlight a shift in consumer shopping habits, the Soil Association says, moving towards independent retailers. The independent and box scheme sectors have both benefited from these changing habits and grew by a combined 8.2% in 2015. Consumers are now spending over £544 million every year through these channels. The sustained interest in organic is partially driven by an increase in young and socially conscious ‘millennials’ with strong social, ethical and environmental values. These consumers are increasingly choosing organic because they want to know the origins of their food and are willing to pay more for products with quality assurance standards supporting the environment, society and animal welfare. This year’s star performer is grocery, driven by innovative brands and products such as jams and spreads (+28.1%), fish (+25.1%), oils and vinegars (+17.5%), and tea (+12.8%). “This is a hugely exciting time for the organic sector, with the market set to break through the £2 billion mark in 2016 and reach levels seen before the recession,” said Martin Sawyer, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification. “Thanks to the growth of online, it is now possible for retailers to connect consumers with the broadest choice of organic products.” Another highlight is catering. The amount of organic food used by the catering sector grew by 15.2% in 2015 - making it the most buoyant sector of the organic market. Organic food within the catering sector is now worth £64.3 million, a success due in part to the £9 million spent on organic food through the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark scheme, as well as widespread use of organic milk in high street chains. The future is looking bright for organic, the Association believes: last week, research published in the British Journal of Nutrition confirmed organic dairy and meat is nutritionally different from its non-organic equivalent. Led by Newcastle University, the study was the largest systematic review of its kind and found organic milk and meat contains around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. This follows earlier research which showed that organic crops contain higher concentrations of antioxidants and lower concentrations of some heavy metals, less chemical pesticide residues and nitrite/nitrate. Together, these studies are paving the way - showing how we farm does affect the quality of our food and that there are significant differences between organic and non-organic.