The Organic Market Report explores the organic food market in the UK and finds that consumption of organic food in the UK leapt almost 13% in 2020: According to the 2021 Organic Market Report published by the Soil Association in the UK, the British organic market is now worth £2.79bn (€3.18bn) a year.
Organic food consumption has soared in the past year across the UK as people have eaten in more and sought higher quality food, driving the biggest year-on-year increase in sales in 15 years.
There are a number of factors underlying this impressive rise. One of the most important influences on the rise is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As many British consumers were spending more time at home, and unable to make major purchases, those people who were able to maintain their incomes had more cash to spare. As a result, they were able to give greater thought to the quality of the food they were eating. The largest part of the organic market is for food, particularly fresh vegetables (15% increase) and meat and fish (almost 17% higher). Locked-down British consumers also bought more tinned organic food as they sought to stockpile canned and packaged products. The home delivery market also profited from the organic boom in 2020, with an already well-established market of delivering parcels of fresh groceries direct to the customers’ homes growing by almost a third to a value of nearly £500m.
Another factor, surprisingly, is Brexit. Despite the problems it has caused for export-oriented British organic farmers, Brexit has also presented them with an opportunity. Although it is becoming increasingly difficult for organic producers to export to the European market, they are benefitting from a greater interest among British consumers in locally and regionally produced food.
The Soil Association is confident that the interest in organic produce will be sustained even after the pandemic.
To access the Organic Market Report 2021, go to the Soil Association website.