Independents shine in organic success

Encouraging figures emerge from the Soil Association 2018 Organic Market Report, which shows UK independent retailers leading the way in new sales. Year-on-year growth of +9.7% saw independent retailers organic sales reach £359.3m in 2017 compared with 2016. That’s 16.3% of the market compared with supermarkets at 67%.

Only food service businesses did better with +10.2% growth for last year, with home delivery on +9.5% and supermarkets +4.2%.

The biggest surge came in the chilled and deli sector with +21.3% followed by beers, wines and spirits at +8.2%. Frozen was up 6.7% and fresh produce 6.5%.

However, bakery declined -10.3% and babyfood and drink -2.3%.

More than three-quarters of independent retailers expect the positive trend to continue in 2018.

The report cheerfully announces that £1 in every £7 spent on organic is through the independent sector, including delis, fine food stores, health shops, farm shops and farmers’ markets.

“Soil Association Certification research shows these outlets have different reasons for stocking organic,” says the report. “Often it’s to provide ethical choice but, more than ever, it’s to expand their health food options, particularly in grocery.”

The report criticises larger retailers for not grasping the opportunity to sell more organic products online.

“Although their shops have organic options, they have not extended online organic ranges beyond what is normally in their stores,” the Soil Association says. This creates an opportunity for independents with online services.

More on the Soil Association Organic Market Report here.

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