Organic Produce Forum 2018
Recently, Soil Association held the annual organic produce forum, which brought together more than 40 experts from within the sector at England Marketing's new conference facility deep in the Cambridgeshire countryside. Packers and processors were joined by representatives from some of the key retailers, to discuss and debate the market performance, and the opportunities and challenges facing this growing organic category.
With market growth at 6% - which is well ahead of the non-organic market and one online supermarket reporting over 25% growth - the potential for selling organic fruit, veg and salad has never been better. The fast and dramatic shift towards vegetarianism and meat reduction has definitely benefited organic sales with many of these shoppers being more likely to choose organic options for their personal health and wellbeing. Recent RSPCA research showed that more than a third of UK consumers are reducing the amount of meat, fish, eggs and dairy they consume (England Marketing research - June 2018)
Fruit has been performing better than the overall sector, possibly attributable to the amount which is going into the 'daily smoothie fix' for the younger, health conscious consumer. It was noted that organic bananas are also almost 10% of all bananas sold and are readily available on most supermarket shelves, proving that availability can and does drive sales, while organic carrots account for more than 15% of all carrot sales - the highest penetration of any produce.
Alongside these market insights and an informative presentation from Ocado on the success of their organic sales, the group had an engaging debate about the reduction of packaging for organic produce. The results of a recently commissioned survey were shared, showing that customers expect organic to have less packaging and where possible, to be using the most environmentally friendly alternatives.
Other future opportunities were suggested to provide more organic produce in snacking packs and for food to go, as well as added value produce: i.e. non-meat organic meal solutions
For further information on the event or to make suggestions about driving growth in the organic produce market, please contact Finn Cottle.