Last week I attended the annual meeting of the Organic Trade Board, during which they reviewed the state of the organic market in the UK and shared their plans for their future support. The meeting brought together organic producers, independent retailers and supermarkets to hear more about the state of the market and OTB's plans for promoting the benefits of organic to UK consumers as a result of a successful joint bid with Denmark for funds from the EU.
As detailed in the Soil Association 2017 Organic Market Report, the organic market increased by over 7.1% during 2016 compared to a continued decline in non-organic sales. The organic market is now worth £2.09 billion with 39% of shoppers buying organic food on a weekly basis (research by England Marketing).
This has to be the most exciting time in the history of organic in the UK. But there is still a lot of work to be done with sales of organic food and drink still only representing 1.5% of the total market - a lot lower than many other countries in Europe and across the world.
Of course, there is the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, the drop in value of sterling and the prospect of rising inflation. However, people buying organic are 25-44 year olds, which presents the sector with the chance to build brand loyalty into their future years. There are also opportunities for domestic brands to compete more effectively with imported goods.
The Organic Trade Board meeting is always one of my favorite days of the year, as it is so uplifting to be surrounded by like-minded people and the news for organic has been so positive and exciting. There are many of us who have supported organic for years and now we are all seeing the results of our labours!