Growth in organic sales for the first time in four years

The Soil Association’s annual Organic Market Report reveals that the organic sector has seen growth of 2.8% in 2013: the first time the organic market has seen annual growth since 2008, and reflecting growing public demand.

Soil Association banner

Organic sales are growing slightly ahead of the overall grocery sales for 2013, which finished the year at around +2.1%. The 2014 Organic Market Report, published 13 March, shows that the organic market is now worth £1.79billion. Those brands that carry the Soil Association logo have had an even stronger 2013, with growth of more than 5%.

And it seems this trend is set to continue in 2014, with organic sales for the first four weeks of the year seeing growth of +2.5% – way outperforming overall grocery sales, which were down -3.2%.
Household names, such as Yeo Valley Organic, Green & Blacks and Rachel’s Organic are the most popular organic brands in supermarkets. Also seeing growth throughout 2013 are mail-order, home-delivery and veg box schemes – up 11% on last year, with leading brands Abel & Cole and Riverford seeing a combined increase in sales of 17.9%.

Catering
Catering and restaurant sales rose by 10%, thanks to the success of the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark and demand from high-street chains, such as McDonald’s and Pret A Manger, for organic milk, tea and coffee.

Growing public demand
Speaking about the report, Rob Sexton, CEO of Soil Association Certification said,

To see the organic market showing such strong signs of growth, particularly when grocery sales as a whole are slowing, shows just how much potential there is in the organic sector. Both the growth in the organic market and the accelerating growth of products carrying the Soil Association logo further highlight the growing public demand for organic and food logos that they can trust.

“The message to supermarkets and other retailers and organic businesses is clear: if you make organic goods available and promote them well, consumers will respond by continuing to purchase the products they have confidence in.

“In addition research has shown that organic shoppers expect to buy more organic products this year than last so we have reason to be positive about the outlook for organic in 2014 and beyond. Now, the priority needs to be ensuring a greater choice of organic produce on shelves.”

Download the full Soil Association Organic Market report 2014 here.

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