It was reported in a UK national newspaper yesterday that organic food and drink sales in the UK reached £2 billion for the first time in 2006, with a 22 per cent rate of market growth throughout the year.
Launched to coincide with the start of Soil Association Organic Fortnight 2007, the Soil Association's annual Organic Market Report shows a continuing strong growth and great public support for all things organic. This includes food, drink, textiles and health and beauty products.
Overall retail sales of organic products made through organic box and mail order schemes as well as other direct routes increased from £95 million in 2005 to £146 million in 2006. This represents a 53 per cent growth which is more than double that experienced by the major supermarkets.
In 2006, organic textiles and the organic health and beauty sector saw a 30 per cent increase in the number of health and beauty products licensed with the Soil Association. At the current rate of growth, the UK market for organic cotton products is estimated to be worth £107 million by 2008.
Sales of free-range and organic outstripped eggs from caged birds for the first time. Consumer concerns over animal welfare appear to be driving changes in the poultry sector
Each and every week, an average of £37 million is spent on organic produce in the UK. Households with children under the age of 15 tend to buy a wider range of organic foods than those with no children.
Naturally, organic farmers are said to be three times as likely to market their products locally or directly as conventional farmers.
Organic livestock farmers are dependent on supplies of organic feed. Unfortunately, in 2006 UK self-sufficiency in organic cereals fell below 50 per cent This places an increase on our reliance on imported organic grains.
But overall this is extremely good news for the organic food and related industries, meaning more and more people are heeding the warnings that non-organic produce is not up to scratch.
Further information can be found at soilassociation.org