29 August 2018, 09:35 AM
  • The Soil Association has announced new sales figures as the organic market continues its seventh consecutive year of growth
Soil Association hails “major opportunity” for retailers as organic market continues strong growth

Consumer research undertaken by the Soil Association found several key factors have bolstered continued growth in the organic market. This is supported by the latest Nielsen Scantrack data sales figures that show an overall sales growth of 4 per cent for the 52 weeks to 30 June 2018.

The research found that “healthiness” and “taste & inspiration” are increasingly important to consumers. Dramatic growth in sales include organic delicatessen - including many chilled vegetarian products - which is up 27.8 per cent year-on-year, while organic beer, wine and spirits are up 8.7 per cent.

Organic canned and packaged goods are up 6.6 per cent, with organic meat, fish and poultry sales also rising with an increase of 5.6 per cent spurred on by barbeques and the hot summer weather.

The findings show that consumers are increasingly looking to organic as a signifier of health, particularly among younger demographics. The move among many to reduce their meat consumption and move towards vegan and vegetarianism may also have played a role in the growth of organic, particularly produce, states the Soil Association.

The certification body also mentions that these figures are a sign that trust in the assurance of organic food production is peaking, while Soil Association’s research shows provenance to be increasingly important to consumers following recent food scares.

Soil Association Certification has certified over 3,000 innovative new organic products and producers in the last year alone, including seaweed gin, kefir and hot cross buns.

Finn Cottle, trade consultant for Soil Association Certification, points to this increase in product lines, combined with changing consumer attitudes to food provenance and healthy eating, as the impetus behind organic’s continued success.

She also urged retailers to take advantage of this market growth by continuing to list more organic products. She said, “The demand for innovative new products shows the wide appeal organic holds for health-conscious consumers who prioritise food quality, taste, and wellbeing simultaneously. Organic is food as it should be, with no artificial additives or GM, and grown with fewer pesticides - factors that we know are increasingly important to shoppers.

“This rising demand is a major opportunity for retailers to list new brands and products and seize the momentum surrounding organic – momentum that is showing no signs of slowing down. This summer’s results clearly show that if there is supply, demand will follow.”

Retailers and shoppers will have the chance to enjoy many of these new products this Organic September, Soil Association’s annual celebration of organic food and farming. During September, the Soil Association will capitalise on the growing interest in and availability of organic.

Soil Association is supporting nation-wide events and organic brand promotions this Organic September. Independent retailers across the country are encouraged to get involved with Organic September Saturday, which takes place on 15th September.