BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 07 Feb '18

After six years of growth, the UK organic market is now worth £2.2 billion

The Soil Association’s 2018 Organic Market Report reveals that, after growing 6% in 2017, the UK organic market is now worth more than ever: £2.2 billion. The market has now had six years of steady growth, with organic accounting for 1.5% of the total UK food and drink market.

Shoppers want transparency and traceability

The report reveals that supermarket sales of organic grew by 4.2% in 2017, and independent retailers increased sales of organic by 9.7%.

Sales of organic for home delivery, including box schemes, grew by 9.5% and now account for almost 13% of the organic market.

The report also shows that the rate of growth in independent retail and home delivery has overtaken supermarket sales, and almost 30% of all organic sales now take place online or on the high street.

‘We know shoppers are putting increasing value on trust, transparency and traceability when making their purchasing decisions. Organic delivers on those values and is also increasingly seen as the healthy and ethical choice thanks to mounting evidence of the difference between organic and non-organic, both in terms of nutrition and environmental impact.

‘This stamp of assurance will only become more important as understanding of organic increases and we look toward the formation of new trade deals post-Brexit. Encouragingly, shoppers are remaining loyal to UK organic in the face of this, buoyed by the assurance and benefits the organic label and Soil Association symbol brings, and we expect the market to continue growing at pace in coming years.’

CLARE MCDERMOTT
Business development director at Soil Association Certification

The value of sustainable farming

This year’s Organic Market Report was sponsored by Triodos Bank, which has been an active supporter of the organic sector for more than 35 years. The ethical bank works with organic businesses from field to fork, from farmers and growers to processors and retailers.

Triodos lends to more than 330 organic food and farming businesses and around 1,500 across Europe. Well known UK customers include Riverford Organics, Neal’s Yard, River Cottage, CaféDirect and independent retailers Better Food Company (Bristol) and Hisbe (Brighton).

‘Historic farming practices, the reduction in soil organic matter over the last 50 years, and the general health and biodiversity above and below ground, are starting to have an impact on land sale and rental values. This can only be good news for existing organic farmers and those considering conversion. It will build further confidence in the often-hidden value of sustainable farming practices in the natural capital we all rely upon.’

SIMON CRICHTON
Food, farming and trade team manager at Triodos Bank

Organic beauty

The Soil Association’s Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report, which was also launched today, reveals that the organic and natural beauty market was worth £75.9 million in 2017, up 24% on the previous year, alongside a 25% growth for organic textiles.

This growth is driven by rising consumer demand for transparency and trust alongside an increasing interest in wellness, which spans food and beauty. The significance and need for certification for beauty products is becoming ever clearer and COSMOS-certified brands (the Soil Association standard) now number more than 5,000.