Organic Market Report 2020 published
Soil Association Certification’s annual Organic Market Report 2020 reveals:
- Organic market continues its strong growth of the last eight years, growing 4.5% in 2019 to reach a record £2.45 billion
- £200m a month is now spent on organic food and drink as rise of the ‘conscious consumer’ sees shoppers making two more trips to buy organic than they did five years ago
- UK organic market on target to hit £2.5 billion by the end of 2020
- Organic poultry and eggs saw sales increase over 12%*, despite the rise of veganism and climate concerns causing red meat and dairy sales to fall slightly
- Organic wine was 2019’s big organic winner, with sales increasing nearly 50%*, as wider listings saw supermarkets cashing in on shoppers’ environmental concerns
Released today (05 February), Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report reveals the UK’s organic market is now worth £2.45 billion after a 4.5% growth in sales in 2019.
After eight years of growth, organic sales have reached their highest ever value with £200m spent each month on organic food and drink in the UK. The market is expected to be worth £2.5 billion a year by the end of 2020.
The report shows growth across all areas, including supermarkets, home delivery, foodservice and independent retail, as demand for organic continues to increase across the UK.
Clare McDermott, Business Development Director at Soil Association Certification, said: “With the climate crisis and British farming dominating the headlines, organic is more relevant than ever as a way for shoppers looking for simple choices to reduce their environmental impact. 2019 was another exciting year for organic and 2020 will be a tipping point where organic becomes the go-to choice for shoppers who want to have a sustainable shopping basket.
“Organic certification means people can be sure that what they are buying has been produced to the highest environmental and animal-welfare standards. The remarkable success of organic wine last year is proof that the demand for nature-friendly products is there, and that if retailers stock more organic, shoppers will buy it.”
Organic wine was 2019’s greatest success story. Sales of the nature-friendly tipple increased by 47%, with sales now worth around £50 million*, as retailers from Waitrose to Aldi responded to shoppers’ demand for low-impact wines made without pesticides and expanded their ranges.
Jamie Matthewson, Wine Buyer at Waitrose & Partners said: “Demand for organic wine continues to sparkle, reflecting shoppers’ interest in where their food comes from, and in turn, where and how their wines are made, meaning more shoppers than ever are seeking out organic wine.”
The biggest growth channel for organic was online and home delivery, with sales growing 11.2%. Soil Association Certification put the success of this channel – which includes organic veg box schemes and online retailers like Ocado – down to savvy shoppers turning to the internet to choose from the widest ranges of organic products available.
Ocado, the UK’s biggest organic online retailer, benefitted from this trend, expanding its organic lines to over 4,500 and enjoying a 12% sales increase. Searches on the Soil Association website for “organic box scheme” increased 174% year on year to the end of 2019.
Independent retailers, the traditional high street home of organic, enjoyed a 6.5% rise in sales of organic in 2019.
Supermarket sales of organic increased again in 2019, up 2.5%*, outpacing the overall market, despite their overall share of the UK’s organic market falling 1% to 64.6%, as other channels ate into their dominance.
Organic sales have not been isolated from the rise in popularity of plant-based foods. The share of total organic sales accountable through deli and chilled convenience – where many vegan options are categorised – is 15 times bigger than it was in 2015. Bucking this trend, organic poultry and eggs each saw sales increase over 12%*.
Almost a quarter of the amount the UK spends on organic in foodservice is through the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here. Now, £23.2 million is spent on organic through this scheme in schools, hospitals and other public settings, up from £19.5 million in 2018.
Overall, organic foodservice saw an 8.3% rise in sales, thanks in part to more organic milk and snacks on offer at high street chains, including Pret a Manger, McDonald's and Wetherspoons. Research also indicates that around two thirds of people believe ethical considerations matter when choosing where to eat.
Away from food and drink, sales of certified organic and natural beauty products grew a remarkable 23%, while sales of Soil Association Certification certified organic textiles increased 10% in 2019. A separate organic beauty & wellbeing market report will be published on Wednesday 13 February.
Simon Crichton, food, farming and trade team manager at Triodos Bank UK, who supported the publishing of the report, said: “The momentum for a systemic change in our approach to food and farming is building. This year’s Organic Market Report data reflects the great work that the Soil Association and its licensees across the UK are doing to shift mindsets and put the health of people and planet first. We believe that the principles of organic offers a route to long-term sustainability for both people and planet, while still having capacity to provide fair, healthy and culturally diverse food for a growing population. Triodos Bank aspires to be a catalyst for these developments through the lending and investments it provides.”
*Based on Nielsen RMS data for the Organic category Soil Association Defined for the 12-month period ending 28th December 2019 for the GB total retail market (Copyright @ 2020, Nielsen).