The UK’s organic market is in good health and enjoying strong growth for its 8th year. Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report, published every year in spring, takes a holistic look at the market.

UK’s organic market: expected to exceed £2.5billion by 2020

In 2018, the UK’s organic market was worth £2.33 billion after a 5.3% growth in sales, well ahead of the non-organic market. The figure represents the highest ever value placed on the organic market, following seven consecutive years of growth, and means that almost £45 million is spent on organic every week in the UK. Within the broader food and drink market, organic is now around 1.5% of the market, and we expect it to exceed a value of £2.5 billion by 2020.

Sales performance is strongest in the home delivery channel, recording +14.2% in 2018, while grocery continues to show strong sales, fuelled by many of the successful brands in the tea, cereals, home baking and oils categories. Traditional ‘entry point’ sectors like dairy, fruit and vegetables have had slower sales as they compete with much lower shelf prices on non-organic.

£45 million is spent on organic every week in the UK

Wider issues are having a big impact on customers’ food choices. To try and understand some of the reasons behind this trend, Soil Association Certification conducted consumer research during the summer of 2019, and found that sustainability is a rapidly growing driver for consumers when they shop for food. People are not choosing products just because of the benefits these products bring to them; they are choosing products because of the wider benefits they bring to the environment. This means there is a major opportunity for organic. The explosion of interest in environmental issues has driven a renewed focus for organic in the UK and should guarantee continued growth in sales despite any economic uncertainty.

Through campaigns like Organic September, our month-long focus on organic, we are seizing the opportunity to communicate clearly with the changing customer, to raise their interest in organic and to ask them to switch to organic options. We also need support from the UK government and from the supermarket chains, as they account for 66% of sales of all organic in this country. We are also encouraging more organic products within the foodservice sector, getting customers used to eating organic ‘out of home’. We know that UK shoppers want more sustainable options; it’s now time for all of us to come together to promote clearly the benefits that organic brings to people and the planet.

Author: Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant Soil Association Certification | www.soilassociation.org

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