Government support for the organic food market in Britain is vital, according to the Soil Association, after the latest figures showed that a slump in the UK market had bucked the trend of soaring sales across Europe.
The UK organic sector is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the market is leveling off after a year of slowing decline in sales, but much depends on consumer confidence after the government spending cuts are implemented this month.
DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) has ruled out financial support for the organic industry, despite producers saying they stand alone and a Soil Association (SA) report damning Whitehall’s “diffident, if not lazy” approach.
The methodology used in the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) controversial review of the nutritional merits of organic vs conventionally-produced food has been given the stamp of approval by an independent scientific panel.
Waxing lyrical about “how organic food will save the planet” will not give the sector the sales boost it needs, according to the agency producing a new organic marketing campaign that will launch in January.
The pricing hierarchy in organic foods is confusing shoppers and holding the category back, with some products costing more than twice as much as conventional counterparts and others achieving price parity, according to the UK’s biggest grocer.