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2016 - The Year of Organic

2016 - The Year of Organic

2016 was a successful year for organic, both for us at Soil Association and for the market as a whole.

farmers gathering

Here are some of our highlights from this year – read on to find out how you can get involved and help grow your organic business in 2017.

  • Fresh produce sales have grown by 9%. Organic vegetables sales increased by 6%, against a 0.3% reduction in the value of non-organic sales. Throughout organic September sales of UK grown organic carrots rose by a massive 68%!
  • Meat, fish and poultry have shown a year on year increase of 2.6%, and organic milk sales are up. 
  • Organic in the news reached over 50million! Press highlights include The Sun, Daily Mail, Huffington Post,Marie Claire and the Farmer’s Guardian.
  • Scientific research revealed organic meat really is different with up to 50% more Omega 3 fatty acids. We reached over 15.5 million over 103 stories through the press. Following the release of this research the red meat market has been in growth!
  • Alongside working with IFOAM UK and DEFRA on the update to the regulations; we have been lobbying on your behalf to ensure that organic and organic businesses are represented and supported during the BREXIT negotiations.
  • It was the biggest Organic September growing sales across the UK and reaching over 32 million through our targeted media and digital campaign.
  • The Innovative Farmers network currently has around 30 farmer-led ‘field labs’, working to make farming more sustainable and productive. In the past 12 months the network has held a range of workshops, field walks and conference sessions, with a total of 1,200 farmers attending
  • Our Organic Meat Forum saw record attendance, with numerous businesses joining the session to hear upbeat news from retailers and food service companies about the growing market for organic meat.
  • We consulted with you on proposed changes to our Producer Standards. Thank you for those who took part; this is the biggest review of our standards for many years and it is planned that the new standards document will be published in late 2017. In January we also published revised organic standards for aquaculture and seaweed production.

Events and opportunities 

  • For the first time the NFU will be hosting a session on organic at their annual conference on 21 February. If you’re attending, please show your support for organic farming taking part in the session.
  • With some innovative new tools on the market, we’ll be hosting a mechanical weeding trial at the Royal Agricultural University. Come along to see the machines in action at the demonstration day, which is open to all and held on 9 May.
  • Find out how planting trees could benefit your farms’ productivity at Agroforestry 2017 at Cranfield University on 22 June.
  • This year there are new field labs starting on mintill without glyphosate, producing organic protein for animal feed, and lots more. Got an idea? Speak to the team about getting funding and support to test it out. Also, make sure you get the latest trial results, events and field lab news by signing up to the Innovative Farmers free, monthly newsletter.
  • If you’re a grower, make sure you’re making the most of the GREATsoils project. With free events, webinars and resources all about making your soil work for you.