Skip to main content

Organic foods outperform wider grocery market

| International retailers

Latest figures from the Soil Association show that sales of organic products increased by 4% last year, far outperforming the wider grocery market which was impacted by falling food prices and customer spending.

The 2015 Organic Market Report reveals that shoppers spent an extra £1.4m a week on organic products and the organic market exceeded £1.86bn, bringing sales back to levels last seen in 2009. The Soil Association said that feedback from retailers indicated that shoppers are becoming more health conscious and organic products offer answers to questions about food quality and provenance.

Organic sales through the multiple retailers grew for a second successive year, increasing by 2.2% to almost £1.3bn. The three biggest multiples in organics are Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, which together account for around 70% of multiple retail sales. Tesco’s organic turnover fell in 2013, while sales through Sainsbury’s were little changed and those through Waitrose grew by 3.5%.

Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables were the most popular organic purchases. Overall, the strongest market growth was through online shopping and box schemes (11.7%) and independent retailers (5.7%). More than a quarter of spending on organic products (27.9%) is in the dairy aisles with yoghurt sales increasing by 13.8% and dairy sales increasing by 6.5% - a stark contrast to the 3% contraction of the non-organic dairy market.

There were also sharp increases for a wide range of other products against a background of sliding non-organic sales including fresh fruit (up 6.4%), tea (up 13.7%), cereals (up 4.2%) and biscuits (up 7.2%). Sales of organic vegetables fell by 2%, but in a context in which non-organic sales fell at five times this rate. Health and beauty (up 20%) and textile (up 3.4%) sectors also grew in 2014.

Helen Browning, Soil Association Chief Executive, said: “Three years ago, commentators were writing off the organic market in the UK. Now, with a third year of steady growth, and against a falling overall food market, it’s clear that reports of organic food’s demise were premature to say the least. This reinvigoration may be partly related to an improving economy, but it’s also testament to the fact that retailers and manufacturers who continued to invest in organic lines have continued to thrive. Now, even the discounters are beginning to stock organic ranges.”

The figures contrast with those released yesterday by the Fairtrade Foundation which showed that both the volume and the retail value of Fairtrade food sales fell in 2014 for first time since the ethical trading scheme was founded 20 years ago. Sales of Fairtrade products were down 3.7% to £1.67bn in 2014 with the disappointing figure blamed on cash-strapped shoppers focusing on value and shifting some of their spending to the discounters which don’t sell as many Fairtrade products as the major supermarkets.

Pin It

Related Articles

Spar reports growth of 3.3% as global retail sa...

SPAR, the world’s largest food retail voluntary chain, has seen annual retail sales break the €40 billion mark for the first time, today reporting global sales revenue of €41.2 billion for the year ending December 31st, 2021. The figures represent...

Informal Retail in Africa: Could Technology be ...

Since the turn of the century and consistently for nearly a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic ravished global markets, Africa was home to the fastest growing economies. The shoots of positive growth it demonstrated afforded it the title of the “...

Consumers need a good reason to shop this Black...

Last year’s Black Friday retail sales massively underperformed for many reasons, according to Marino Sigalas, Account Director at The MediaShop. He says that some consumers were not comfortable with the thought of being shoulder to shoulder with o...

Checkers launches deals onto its Sixty60 home d...

Retailer Checkers says that customers using its Sixty60 home delivery service will now be able to benefit from its Xtra Savings rewards programme.

SA wipe manufacturer Sani-touch is ahead of the...

In the UK a government minister is calling for a new law to ban wet wipes that contain plastic. Labour minister Fleur Anderson argues that around 90% of the 11 billion wet wipes used in the UK per year contain some form of plastic that turns into ...