Organic market returns to growth in UK
A new report has revealed that the UK organic market returned to growth in 2013 after four years of declining sales.
Figures released by the Soil Association in its Organic Market Report show that total sales of organic products increased by 2.8% in 2013 to reach £1.79 billion. Those brands that carried the Soil Association logo had an even stronger 2013, with growth of more than 5%.
The Soil Association said it expects the trend to continue in 2014 after seeing organic sales in the first four weeks of the year rise by 2.5%.
Much of last year’s increase was down to independent retailers who saw growth in sales of organic products of 6.9%. Online sales also grew strongly with Ocado seeing an increase of 10.4%.
Sainsbury’s, the UK’s biggest organic retailer with 29% market share, enjoyed 7% growth in sales of its own-label organic products, while Waitrose saw a 6.5% rise in organic sales.
Mail-order, home-delivery and veg box schemes also saw growth in 2013 with leading brands Abel & Cole and Riverford seeing a combined increase in sales of 17.9%.
Rob Sexton, chief executive 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. 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.”
He added: “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.”
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