Organic market hits £2.2bn, driven by online sales

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The demand for organic produce is growing
The demand for organic produce is growing

Related tags: Organic food

The UK organic market is now worth more than ever at £2.2bn, growing by 6% in 2017 and driven in part by the rise in online shopping, a new report has revealed.

The Soil Association’s 2018​ Organic Market Report​ said this indicated six years of steady growth, with organic now accounting for 1.5% of the total UK food and drink market.

Sales growth

The report said that, in 2017, sales of organic products in independent retail grew by 9.7% and in home delivery by 9.5%, with almost 30% of all organic sales now taking place online or on the high street. Supermarket sales of organic goods also continued to increase, rising by 4.2% this year, while non-organic sales rose by just over 2%.

Organic products also had the highest value growth, equating to more than £20M in sales, the report revealed. Organic chilled foods grew by 21% and accounted for 3.4% of the total UK organic market. Dairy sales also increased by around 3%, and retained the highest share of the organic food and drink market, at nearly 29%.

The report also revealed that organic wine continued to grow in popularity, with sales of beers, wines and spirits increasing by over 8%.

Online shopping

One of the biggest stories for organic over the past couple of years has been the rise of online shopping, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down,” ​said Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification.

“Driven by convenience, an ever broader range of choice, and by younger generations entering the market, it’s no surprise online sales are outperforming the traditional supermarket on organic​.

“Home delivery already accounts for almost 13% of the organic market and the expectation is that this could reach as much as 25% in the near future. It’s a good fit for organic too: the local, fresh, farm-to-door approach of box schemes is in line with the ethos of organic and appeals to consumers who value food provenance.”

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