Sales of organic eggs and poultry slumped in late 2008

The organic egg and poultry market grew in the first nine months of 2008, followed by a decline as the economic downturn took hold.

According to the Soil Association’s Market Report for 2008, overall consumer spending in the organic sector was up by 1.7% – with egg sales up 3.9% and poultry meat up 2.9%.

This meant retail sales of organic poultry were worth up to £44.8m.

TNS data showed an overall 40% annual growth in poultry meat sales volume and a rise of 56% in market value in January 2008. But after July, sales began to slump because of the high price of organic feed.

Producers raised the price of organic poultry to cope with rising feed prices, but this was more than retailers and consumers were prepared to pay, according to TNS.

Moving to eggs, packing figures showed a decline from an average 122,760 eggs a quarter in 2007 to 122,400 in 2008.

The Soil Association estimated that retail sales of organic eggs were worth £60.2m last year.

As with poultry meat, the sector saw a decline in the latter part of the year because of the costs of production and rising inflation.

Even with a rise in sale prices, producers were still unable to match these increases due to the high cost. And by June 2008 there was a significant drop in the market as consumers traded down to free-range eggs.