Organic sales boost from new categories: Nielsen

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK organic sales are rising: Nielsen
UK organic sales are rising: Nielsen

Related tags: Soil association, Organic food

Steady growth in organic sales could be boosted by expansion into new food and drink categories, advises market data specialist Nielsen.

UK organic sales grew by 3% in the year to August 15, compared with the continued fall in non-organic sales of 1.2% during the same period, according to new Nielsen research, presented at the Soil Association’s market briefing yesterday (September 15).

The rise represented an annual increase in sales of organic produce double that reported in the 52 weeks to August 15 2014.

But to fully capitalise on rising demand for organic produce Nielsen recommended brand owners and retailers develop new channels and categories.

‘Look for growth through new channels’

The research firm’s head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins said: “To me it is clear that brands need to look for growth through new channels and to reach out to developing categories, such as alcoholic drinks, confectionery and snacks, that offer the opportunity to capture their customer and create loyalty. Products should be affordable, accessible and achievable.”

The organic group added: “Confidence is back in the organic market and Soil Association Certification holders are reporting booming sales in the last few months. The value of organic as sold through supermarkets is now worth over £1.3M.”

The number of new products released with Soil Association Certification also revealed renewed confidence in further growth in the sector, it added.

New opportunities

“ ... brands need to look for growth through new channels and to reach out to developing categories ...”.

  • Mike Watkins, Nielsen

The market briefing, part of the Soil Association’s Organic September, offered organic food and drink businesses, farmers and retailers the opportunity to meet and discuss the market. Attendees ranged from multiple retailers to brands owners, independents and producers.

‘Importance of SO Organic range’

Sainsburys confirmed rising sales in its organic range. “The basket size of our organic customer exceeds that of a non-organic shopper, which highlights the importance of our SO Organic range,” ​said the retailer’s head of product development and technology fresh and frozen foods Beth Hart.

“Our values are really important to us as a retailer, including how we source our products and the impact this can have on the environment. Soil is at the root of all the food we produce and our pioneering work with farmers aims to improve the farmland and soil we’re responsible for,”​ she added.

The Soil Association’s business development director certification Clare McDermott outlined the growth potential. “The UK’s organic market is looking immensely positive for the future,”​ she said.

New opportunities

  • Organic alcoholic drinks
  • Confectionery
  • Snacks 

“Since the beginning of the year we have had over 1000 new product applications with Soil Association Certification and an increase of 14% in the past six months in number of new applicants for organic certification. This is really exciting as it shows us there is a real confidence in us and in the future of organic.”

Brands were releasing new organic lines and expanding their offerings to respond to food trends and demands, she said.

“Organic September is having a real impact on organic across the UK too – everyone in the industry is linking up to help consumers make small changes for a big impact. Together with recent data from Nielsen, it’s easy for us to see that organic is becoming a real pillar of UK business.”

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