Organic meat and chilled foods sales increased by 13% over the past 12 months, Tesco said. Organic grocery items – including olive oil, pasta and cooking sauces – sales were up by almost 16%, while fruit and vegetable sales were up 17%.
Tesco organic food spokeswoman Tina Moore said: “We are seeing that shoppers are increasingly looking to buy organic food but it needs to be affordable and consistently high quality all year round for it to be considered a viable option.
‘Organic produce for the whole meal’
“The popularity of organic food began with fruit and vegetables, but we are now seeing customers exploring areas such as grocery, fish and dairy, so you can now use organic produce for the whole meal.”
Customers were traditionally put off organic food due to the high price, and lack of availability, said the Organic Trade Board (OTB). But, Tesco’s organic sales results added to claims organic sales were rising, it said.
“Over the last decade, we have seen this improve across the industry, and now the organic market is in a clear growth phase in the UK,” said OTB chair Adrian Blackshaw.
“But there is much more we can do – there’s a huge opportunity for Tesco to attract new organic consumers and in doing so, add value to their business.”
Countryside Stewardship Scheme support
Tesco’s rising organic sales came after farming minister George Eustice confirmed organic farmers were able to apply for Countryside Stewardship Scheme support for the next two years.
The announcement, made on Janaury 31, underlined the benefits that organic farming delivered, and the value for money it represented, said the Soil Association.
“The demand for organic food is growing strongly in the UK, and is currently outstripping home-grown supply,” said Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett. “Export markets for British organic produce present a further opportunity for British farmers to prosper, if the right government policies are in place.”
The UK organics market grew by 5.6% last year to £1.4bn, and represented 1.8% of total grocery sales, according to OTB.
Meanwhile, the Soil Association is revealing the results of its annual Organic Market Report tomorrow (February 21).
Tesco’s organic sales – at a glance
- Meat and chilled up 13%
- Grocery items up 16%
- Fruit and vegetables up 17%