Soil Association reports increase in organic sales over three months since the horsemeat scandal

08 May 2013

Latest figures from Kantar World-panel reveal organic sales through supermarkets have increased steadily for the past three months. The 12 week year on year picture shows a +1.6% for organic food sales - the first time the market has seen year on year growth since 2009. Sales have now reached a similar level to that of 2 years ago in May 2011. Soil Association market intelligence work also shows organic sales have increased through independent retailers, catering and online.

Speaking about the figures from Kantar, Jim Twine, Business Development Director said; “The Soil Association’s 2013 Organic Market report predicted a positive future for the UK organic market and these figures confirm things are improving. Whenever consumer confidence is knocked – as it has been through the horsemeat scandal – people look for food that has a positive story to tell and is fully traceable. Recent moves from supermarkets, with the exception of Waitrose, to allow GM animal feed into the supply chain are also likely to impact on sales because the only way to avoid eating chicken or eggs from animals on a GM diet is to buy organic.”

“Turnover declarations from Soil Association licensees showed a 1.6% increase to the end of March. Whilst these figures represent more positive news for the market there is an increasing danger of supply chain shortages of key organic products. To prevent a shortfall, the Soil Association is urging all retailers to work more closely than ever with their organic suppliers to ensure higher farm gate prices, better planning and decent forward contracts. This in turn will help to restore producer confidence and safeguard future supply.”

According to the Kantar data, yoghurts, pulses, herbs and spices and cereals are all showing healthy market growth. Recent figures from Nielsen also confirm organic milk has been showing year on year growth since October 2012.

The Soil Association Organic Market Report, released in March, highlighted key areas of growth in online retail, independent outlets and a shift towards younger consumers during 2012. The report showed organic shoppers are increasingly choosing the convenience and variety offered by online shopping and specialist stores versus the limited ranges and stock at many supermarkets. Indeed the three leading brands Ocado, Abel & Cole and Riverford saw a 10.3% increase in sales. In Europe, the organic market has increased by 25% in the past five years.

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