One in four now choose organic milk
A new report, released by the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo) revealed some positive news for organic dairy farmers - over the last year one in four households purchased organic milk, which is an increase of 15%. Globally, organic dairy is in a period of strong growth and is one of the largest sectors within the organic food and drink market, worth $9.5bn in a market valued at $82bn.
Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification said: “It is fantastic to see that one in four UK households are now purchasing organic milk, which shows that in certain sectors, organic is becoming the natural choice for British consumers. Organic is always free range, and with the advance of 'single issue' products such as free range milk, it is important not to confuse the customer when organic already gives the answers".
Our recent Organic Market Report found that dairy makes up 29% of the total organic market in the UK. Exports now account for 20% of UK organic milk sales, and global milk sales are estimated at $9.5bn (£7.38). This will continue to increase as global markets look to the UK for a quality product. Soil Association Certification is uniquely placed to help producers find new routes to the export market. In 2014, we helped pave the way for licensees to reach the burgeoning Chinese market – worth $9bn (£7bn) in 2015 – through a unique partnership with OMSCo and the Organic Food Development and Certification Centre of China (OFDC). The partnership made the certification process more efficient by offering technical support every step of the way.”
Research from Newcastle University last year showed organic dairy contains around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids thanks to higher grass, clover and forage content of animals’ diet and more desirable poly-unsaturated fats than non-organic. The findings shatter the myth that how we farm does not affect the quality of the food we eat showing what you get out is only as good as what you put in.
“Last year the organic milk category attracted one million new households – more than any other milk sector in the UK,” says OMSCo managing director, Richard Hampton. “This is despite it being a private label dominated category, and therefore subject to less advertising and innovation than other growth milk segments such as dairy alternatives and filtered milk, and increasing shelf premiums as conventional prices fell”.
“However, UK organic dairy growth is still behind other key international markets, growing at a rate of just 2.2%. This is compared to the USA market which is growing 10% year-on-year and European markets, such as Germany and France, which are also witnessing significant growth,” adds Richard. “For this reason, exports have become an increasingly important market for UK organic dairy products,” explains Richard. “Over the last 10 years exports have grown from zero to 20% of UK organic milk sales. They play an important role in balancing UK market fluctuations, and therefore delivering a stable return to UK organic dairy farmers”