Is Organic on the Decline?

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Is Organic on the Decline?

Don’t get me wrong. We are strong supporters of organic and biodynamic foods and whenever possible we use organic / biodynamic products at home. Plus we grow our own vegetable s and fruit as much as possible and only use organic methods at home. The 2011 UK Organic Market Report published by the Soil Association was released on 4th April and provides some interesting insights to the UK food industry. The report showed the UK consumer is looking for cheaper food and as a result organic food sales have dropped by £100 million in the last twelve months. This is a 5.9% drop in value to a £1.73billion value market. This needs to be looked at in relation to the year before which saw a 12% drop in value and this was after 16 consecutive years of sales growth. The Organic Trade Board has launched a 2 million advertising campaign to try and reverse the drop in sales. The organic movement was seeing 30% lifts in sales each year in the 90’s and this begs the question has the market now peaked? Over 50% of sales of organic products are from fruit and vegetables, organic vegetable sales have dropped by 6.3% and fruit by 2.7% whilst organic meat sales have dropped by 5.8%. Organic ready meals have dropped in sales by 36% .This is an indicator that the organic shopper is now preparing meals from scratch. The growth is coming from organic baby food which has seen a 10.3% growth in the same period and the Spanish owned fashion house, Zara, have been promoting organic textiles and hence this has resulted in a growth of 7.8% The amount of organic land in the UK has also dropped to 4.2% of farm land; a drop of 0.8%, the number of growers in organics has also dropped from 7,896 to 7,567. Supermarkets are still the dominant retailers in the category making 72% of the sales, growth also came from “box” scheme deliveries which grew by 1%. The good news is 86% of households in the UK purchase organics during the year and supermarkets are expecting a small growth in sales in 2011. On our tour around the world a number of farmers markets were telling us that the organic trend had peaked and sales were dropping of in the category in markets, this seems to be global trend and being driven by the downturn in economies. We do not see this turning around for at least twelve months and farmers in organics need to really take a close look at their marketing strategy; the business is there, but you need to inspire the hesitant consumer that organic is the way to go. Consumers are more concerned about health than ever before, and this is a marketing opportunity. Just take a look at the growth in organic baby foods in the past couple of years, that growth is not abating. It shows that people want the best for their children and are looking for ways to provide it. It is up to the organic industry to inform and educate the consumer on the benefits of organic produce. You have to give the consumer reasons to buy organic.