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New report from Soil Association : organic market highest growth in 15 years

By 23 February 2021May 28th, 2022No Comments

Soil Association Certification has launched its annual Organic Market Report, which shows year-on-year sales growth of 12.6% in 2020, outperforming growth in the non-organic sector.

Soil Association Certification’s annual UK Organic Market Report 2021 reveals:

  • Organic market year on year sales growth has reached 12.6% in 2020, outperforming growth in the non-organic sector

  • This is the highest year on year growth rate in the organic market since 2005, with a 10th consecutive year of growth. The market is on target to reach £2.9B by end of 2021.

  • Total sales of organic hit £2.79 billion, meaning more than £50m per week was spent on organic in 2020, as shopping needs and habits changed dramatically due to the pandemic.

  • Sales of organic items in supermarkets increased by 12.5%* with many categories showing growth over 20%

The Soil Association will also be hosting a virtual Organic Market Insights Session at 10am on 24 February to share the key insights and highlights of the market, category and channel trends within the sector for 2020. Sign up free here.

Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant, Soil Association Certification, said: “It’s significant that in times of crisis, people are turning to organic products for the assurance of transparency, integrity and quality they provide. Organic is now rightfully recognised as the cornerstone of a resilient food and farming system and a vital part of the solution to the climate, nature and health crises.”

While shopping trips became less frequent, consumers increased interest in good quality and healthy food helped to drive sales of organic. Soil Association Certification research (July 2020) found that people most associate ‘organic’ with safe and fully traceable food with less pesticides, and no genetically modified organisms.

Laura Henderson, Head of Buying Fresh & Frozen from Ocado said: “We saw a marked increase in the sale of our organic food and drink products at Ocado over the past year. Our new partnership with Marks and Spencer increased the number of organic products available, taking our total to more than 4,000.”

Rob Haward, Managing Director of organic veg box company, Riverford, said: “Riverford was already experiencing strong growth early in 2020, before Covid, driven by a desire for more organic and plant-based eating. In the face of the surge in demand we experienced during the pandemic we reduced our range back to veg boxes to meet our customers’ needs and limit our sales to new customers. We are now building back up to a narrower more veg-focused range.

Even with these measures in place our sales increased by more than 40% compared to the prior year, and sales are remaining at these high levels as the continuing restrictions on people’s lives drive strong demand for home delivery of fresh organic food.”

The organic market is now on track to reach £2.9 billion by the end of 2021, with many new organic shoppers expected to remain loyal to the sector as they look to support a food and farming system that supports a safe climate and more biodiversity.

Categories in supermarkets with increased sales include:

  • Produce +15.5%*

  • Canned and packaged items- +19.8%*

  • Meat, fish and poultry +16.8%*

  • Chilled foods +22.2%*

  • Beers, wines and spirits +32.9%*.

Growth in the organic market was also reported across Beauty and Wellbeing and Textiles. Sales of Soil Association Certification-certified beauty and wellbeing products grew by 13%, to reach a total £120.2 million in 2020. Sales of Soil Association Certification-certified organic textiles grew by 9%, to be worth £49.5 million, despite a 20% decline in global fashion sales in 2020.

Download the report here.