UK ORGANIC FOOD SALES SURGE THROUGH £3 BILLION BARRIER FOR THE FIRST TIME
Organic food sales in the UK grew 5.2% last year and broke through the £3 billion (€3.59 billion) barrier for the first time, according to a new report.
The Soil Association 2022 Organic Market Report recorded a tenth consecutive increase in organic sales, with the strongest growth seen at independent retailers, where sales jumped 9%.
According to the Soil Association – a British charity that certifies organic produce – this was largely due to the expansion of specialist chains.
With supermarket home delivery platforms seeing a 2.4% growth in organic food sales, and foodservice outlets 3.3%, total sales reached £3.05 billion (€3.65 billion).
In 2021 organic food sales also saw their UK market share increase, as they accounted for 1.8% of sales, up from 1.6%.
The 44-page report also outlined that the area of land being farmed organically increased by a modest 0.8%, but there was a 12% increase in the area being converted to organic use.
According to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in 2020 about 489,000 hectares (1.21 million acres) were farmed organically, of which 65% was grassland and 9% was used to grow crops.
The ministry also stated that in 2020 there were 5,800 organic operators in the UK and 3.2% of the country’s cattle population was reared organically.
Organic agriculture is also becoming more popular in the EU. It aims to increase the proportion of farmland that is managed organically to 25% by 2030.
Currently about 36 million acres in the EU are farmed organically, which works out at about 9.1% of the total utilised agricultural area (UAA).
In some nations, such as Austria, Estonia and Sweden, organic already has a share of agricultural land of 20% or higher.