Changes to our fee structure
Over the past few years we have kept any yearly increases below inflation while the market has been challenging. But we now need to increase our fees for processors to reflect the costs directly incurred in delivery of our services.
The organic market is in strong growth – while food prices and food spending continue to fall. Last year, shoppers spent an extra £1.4 million a week on organic products and the organic market exceeded £1.86 billion, bringing sales back to levels in 2009.
Soil Association Certification is a business partner to over 6,000 pioneering businesses – inspecting and certifying their vital work. We offer more than just certification and actively work to support our licensees to grow their businesses successfully. Indeed, last year sales of Soil Association Certification symbol holders grew at 8% against an overall market growth of 4% .Within the organic beauty market; licensees saw growth of 22%. The Soil Association organic symbol is used on over 70% of organic products making it the most recognised and trusted organic symbol in the UK and this is growing.
Some benefits of certifying with us include free membership of the Catering Mark Supplier Scheme giving direct access to caterers in one of the fastest growing sectors for organic, free marketing materials to support businesses and access to our phenomenally successful meet the buyer events with major retailers. These opportunities are not available to businesses not certified with us or are chargeable. Licensees can benefit from training events, free technical advice and support with exporting to new markets. We also pioneer the hugely successful Organic September campaign and will be continuing to make noise about organic across influential national press and social media.
Through the Soil Association charity we also campaign hard to make the sort of change needed to transform the way Britain eats, farms and cares for the natural environment.
The Soil Association’s hard hitting campaigns not only achieve significant and important changes in the world, they also engage hundreds of thousands of consumers more deeply with organic and why it is different. Our ‘Not in our Bread’ campaign tackling the use of glyphosate, and recently our new Soils animation made in partnership with Aardman, both encouraged consumers to do their bit by buying organic. (link to film here)
We know how important it is to our Soil Association Certification licensees that there is a thriving organic farming sector the UK, to provide a strong and sustainable supply chain, so we also campaign hard for organic farmers. We’ve been working in the EU to influence the proposed changes to EU organic legislation and getting the best deal possible for organic farmers from the CAP.
But perhaps most significant is the work we are carrying out for the next generation of consumers who have access to and understand why good, healthy, organic food is so important. Working with a ‘parent army’ our Out to Lunch campaign highlighted bad practice on kids menus across UK restaurant chains and we’re now supporting chains to help them make changes. And through our amazing Food for Life project we are working with UK schools and children who are cooking, growing organically and eating freshly prepared food – in addition, there is now over £7 million of organic food served in schools by Food for Life Catering Mark holders. A quiet but powerful transformation of food culture is happening, something we could have only dreamed of a decade ago. We hope these children will be the organic consumers of the future, interested in their health and the health of their planet.