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A 30 % Increase in Organic Food Sales in the UK

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The United Kingdom is the third largest producer of organic food after Germany and Italy. UK’s organic food sales rose by 30 % last year, the Soil Association stated in a recent report. Last year’s sales were three times greater than in 2004. The rise seems spectacular, but organic food and drink still accounts for only 1.3 % of the total annual market. The enormous increase is, among others, due to the scare over the “Sudan 1” contamination in processed food, the fear of obesity and also to the good news concerning organic milk. A Danish research showed a higher level of nutrients in organic milk and sales immediately rose by 10 %. This was the first time a scientific paper about health benefits had a direct impact on sales.


Supermarkets stocking their own brand organic ranges of products like bread also benefited a lot from the organic craze. Chains like Sainsburys capitalized on consumer demand in the area by relaunching their “SO Organic” range in September last year to increase their range of organically grown bakery products. Organic cereals, croissants and bagels as well as over 700 more organic products are offered now. Sainsburys’ competitor Tesco sells almost 1,200 organic products, including nine varieties of bread and a range of organic nuts, flour and cookies. Food and farming director of the Soil Association, Helen Browning, said of the sales figures for organic produce as a whole that these were staggering growth figures and clearly good news for UK organic producers. It was also greatly encouraging to see the supermarkets responding to criticisms by increasing their sourcing of home-grown produce.
According to market researchers Mintel, bread and cereals in the organic sector showed a 19.1 % rise in the two years leading up to 2004.


In 2005, nearly nine million organic birds were slaughtered, which is an increase of 55 % compared with the previous year, organic milk sales rose to 200 million litres. Range and number of customers is rising as well – two thirds of people questioned stated that they knowingly buy organic food, four out of ten of them at least once a month and 25 % at least once a week. Organic food is mostly bought in supermarkets and at other multiple retailers, but three out of ten people also buy at farmer’s markets and two out of ten at farm shops. Organic food has become affordable for people with lower income. More than half the people questioned from disadvantaged social groups stated that they have sometimes bought organic food.


However, the raise in sales and higher demand has caused concerns that UK farmers cannot keep up. There was decline in fully developed organic land because Scottish hill farms pulled out. Now, two thirds of primary produce comes from British farms. It led to the worry that lower-standard imports could take place and that conventional food could be sold as organic.
Helen Browning mentioned the importance of matching public support by supply; otherwise stores will be forced to look overseas.,,1814616,00.html#article_continue



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