The UK organic market is now in its fifth year of strong growth with annual sales up 7.1 per cent in 2016, reveals The Soil Association’s 2017 Organic Market Report
The findings show that the organic sector represents around 1.5 per cent of the total UK food and drink market. More consumers are looking to organic, with 39 per cent of shoppers opting for organic produce on a weekly basis.
Sales of organic from independent retailers have grown by 6.3 per cent, according to the report. The association also saw an increase in applications for certification from producers, with the number of farmers applying for Soil Association Certification up 13.5 per cent.
Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification said, "It's a positive time for organic as it ticks lots of boxes for consumers. Organic is extremely relevant for trends towards eating better food, knowing where your food comes from, avoiding pesticides or antibiotics and 'free from' diets. Increasingly, we're seeing consumers choose organic as a shortcut to a healthy lifestyle and this will continue. Despite uncertainty around Brexit for us all, it brings lots of opportunities too - particularly for export for British organic and more product innovation."
Simon Crichton, food, farming and trade team manager at Triodos Bank said, “We’ve helped farmers to finance 1,185 hectares of additional organic land in 2016, a threefold increase on last year. There are a number of opportunities for organic farmers at the moment - but those looking to convert, need to have a solid market for their product. Clearly, having certainty around support payments would be of great assistance but agriculture has always had to take a long term view and organic methods are well placed for both environmental and financial sustainability.”