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UK: New Organic Market Report

According to the latest Soil Association Organic Market Report, Sales of organic products fell 5.9 percent to 1.73 billion British Pounds in 2010 with the rate of decline slowing significantly throughout the year.

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The outlook for 2011 is cautiously optimistic. Despite fragile consumer confidence in the wider economy, the report shows positive signs of resilience and recovery for the organic sector overall. The biggest success stories were sales of organic beef (up 18 percent), organic baby food (up 10.3 percent ) and organic textiles (up 7.8 percent).

The report also shows that shoppers spend more than 33 million British Pounds a week on all things organic, and that 86 percent of households now buy organic products. Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables are the most popular categories, accounting for 30.5 percent and 23.2 percent of sales respectively.

Although sales through multiple retailers fell by 7.7 percent , to 1.25 billion  British Pounds, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer anticipate modest growth for 2011, while Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and the Co-operative predict level sales year on year. Multiple retail accounted for 72.3 percent of the organic market in 2010.

Organically managed land decreased by 0.6 percent to 738,709 hectares and now represents 4.2 percent of UK farmland, equivalent to more than the combined area of Somerset and Wiltshire. The number of UK organic producers fell by 4.2 percent to 7,567 in 2010, from a record high of 7,896 the previous year.

Source: Organic market report. The Soil Association Homepage. Accessed April 5, 2011

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