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UK: Soil Association publishes Organic Market Report 2010

The Soil Association has recently published its organic market report for the UK. It predicts a modest market expansion of between 2 percent to 5 percent in the UK market for organic products in 2010.

Cover Soil Association organic market report 2010

Despite the tough economic climate, the Soil Association's 2010 Organic Market report shows that the evidence from the early months of this year indicates clear signs of increasing confidence amongst consumers.

The 2010 Organic Market report also shows that sales of organic products in the UK fell by 12.9 percent in 2009 to £1.84 billion. In line with other retail sectors, shoppers spent less on organic food in the recession. In addition, leading retailers reduced organic ranges and shelf space.

The three biggest categories of organic food – dairy, fruit and vegetables, and fresh meat – saw supermarket sales fall by 6.5 percent, 14.8 percent and 22.7 percent respectively. In contrast, organic milk bucked the trend in dairy sales growing by 1 percent, with 2009 being the best year for organic milk sales on record, and organic baby food sales, resilient throughout 2009, grew by 20.8 percent passing the £100 million mark.

Organically managed land area in the UK increased to 743'516 hectares in January 2009 and now represents 4.3 percent of UK farmland.

Further key findings in the report include:

  • Over 60 percent of the UK’s biggest organic brands are planning for growth in the coming year;
  • Sales of organic food are still three times higher than in 1999 and over 50 percent higher then five years ago;
  • Tesco organic fresh produce sales are already growing. Tesco predict overall organic sales will increase by 1 percent in 2010 while Waitrose anticipates organic sales growth of 3 to 5 percent.; 
  • Organic box schemes fell by -9.8 percent while supermarket sales of organic fell by -12.2 percent and the independent sector by -17.7 percent; 
  • Organic health and beauty products continued to grow rapidly with sales increasing by a third to £36 million;
  • Sales of bread and other bakery items were one of the worst hit categories (-39.8 percent)
  • The number of households buying some organic food fell only slightly in 2009 (from 88.9 percent to 88.3 percent)
  • Organic products continue to attract shoppers from across the social spectrum, with groups that include manual and casual workers, pensioners, students and people on benefits accounting for 33 percent of the spend.

A summary report and the full report are available at the Soil Association homepage, as are reports from previous years.

Source: Organic market report. The Soil Association homepage

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