Organic food boom continues with sales close to £2bn a year

Organic food and drink sales grew 22% in the UK to almost £2bn for the year up to January 2007.

The Soil Association’s annual market report shows continued strong growth and dynamic public support for organic food, drink, textiles and health and beauty products.

The biggest increases were in organic box and mail order schemes and other direct routes  increased from £95m in 2005 to £146m in 2006.

That is a staggering 53% growth, more than double that experienced by the major supermarkets, the report says.

The report includes consumer research by pollsters Mintel which shows that more than half of those surveyed had purchased organic fruit and vegetables within the previous 12 months.

One in four consumers had bought organic meat or dairy products and one in six had purchased packaged organic goods.

Other key figures from the report reveal: 

  • Sales of free-range and organic outstripping eggs from caged birds for the first time. Consumer concerns over animal welfare appear to be driving changes in the poultry sector.
  • An average of £37m is spent each week on organic produce in the UK with consumers living in London, the Southeast, the Southwest and Wales most likely to buy organic food.
  • Households with children under the age of 15 tend to buy a wider range of organic foods than those with no children.
  • Organic farmers are three times as likely to market their products locally or directly as non-organic farmers in the UK.