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Organic food still too expensive

15 September 1997
Organic food still "too expensive"

Consumers still find organic food too expensive, despite retailer price cuts, an independent survey has found. Seventy-five per cent of respondents had never bought organic food.

But the Soil Association said it was “encouraged” by the survey. “Consumers are being thwarted in their efforts to support organic food and farming through lack of availability,” said Association producer services manager Simon Brenman.

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Organic food still too expensive

15 September 1997
Organic food still "too expensive"

By Boyd Champness

AN independent survey reveals that consumers still find organic food too expensive, despite retailer price cuts.

Seventy-five percent of respondents had never bought organic food, with 55% citing high price and 25% claiming limited range as the major deterrents.

But the UKs leading organic growers pressure group, the Soil Association, said it was “encouraged” by the ACNNielsen Homescan survey of 10,500 households, proving once again that organic food was no longer a niche market.

Association producer services manager Simon Brenman said he was pleased to see that 25% of households had bought organic food in the past. He said this figure would have been a lot higher if organic foods were more readily available at supermarkets.

“Consumers are being thwarted in their efforts to support organic food and farming through lack of availability,” he said.

Mr Brenman said there was enormous potential in the market as production continues to rise. The association is expecting a 50% annual rise in domestic production over the next three years – which consumers are hoping will have a lowering effect on prices.

Pre-family groups and older couples, who tend to have more disposable income, find price less of a factor and are most likely to choose organic foods, the survey said.

But 78% of new families and 63% of maturing families, both of whom are more likely to be receptive to any health benefits, identified price as the main deterrent and are the groups least likely to buy.

Mr Brenman said the association would use the surveys findings to put pressure on supermarket chains to stock and improve their organic lines.

Sainsburys has shown a continued commitment to organic food and farming by sponsoring the conference, The Future Agenda for Organic Trade, in Oxford this month, and after eight years of not selling organic food, Marks & Spencer has reintroduced the products into its stores, Mr Brenman said.

On Thursday, the association will meet 12 of Tescos best and most progressive suppliers, along with Tesco buyers and technologists to enlighten them on opportunities in the organic sector.

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