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Organic market strengthens as retailers and brands gain confidence

New figures released by The Soil Association have shown an acceleration in the growth of the UK’s organic grocery market.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Organic market strengthens as retailers and brands gain confidence

The figures from Nielsen, which were presented by Mike Watkins at the Soil Association’s annual market briefing, show growth in the organic grocery market of 3.2% for the four weeks to 16 August 2014 compared with a fall in the non-organic grocery market of 0.9% in the same period.

The Soil Association said this continues a trend where organic sales have been growing at 1.2% compared with a stagnant non-organic market for the year to 16 August 2014. According to Nielsen’s figures, organic sales in the UK now make up a 1.3% share of the £96 billion food and drink market.

The figures also reveal that 83% of UK households now buy organic in some form and 29% of shoppers are willing to pay more for products that are ethically produced or kinder to the environment. The growth trend is reflected in Soil Association licensees’ organic sales which increased 8% year on year, with an 11% increase since April 2014. The acceleration in growth follows research into the nutritional benefits of organic crops compared with non-organic crops, published by Newcastle University in July.

Rob Sexton, chief executive of Soil Association Certification, said; “The UK’s organic market is fast improving. In fact, on top of the positive Nielsen data, our own figures show that Soil Association symbol holders are reporting an increase of 8% in organic sales year on year. Consumers have evidence to help them feel confident about what they buy, in the wake of the Newcastle University report showing how we farm absolutely does impact on the quality of the food we eat.

“We are also seeing supermarkets and brands making more space for organic on shelves and investing more in innovation and marketing. Combined together, all these indicators reveal the growing confidence in the organic market is well justified.”

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