Organic market report 2013
The 2013 Organic market report highlights key areas of growth in online retail, independent outlets and a shift towards younger consumers during 2012. Overall, the market has dipped by 1.5% as the UK continues through its most challenging economic downturn for many decades. However, the report predicts a positive future for the UK organic market.
The Horsemeat scandal has also had a positive impact. Recent figures from Kantar Worldpanel show in February 2013 that total supermarket organic sales increased to their highest level in 9 months, indicating consumers choosing to buy organic as a guarantee of integrity. February sales increased 8.4% versus January. Some independent organic meat suppliers have also reported an increase in sales of up to 20% over the past month.
A strong growth of the global organic market of 25% in the past three years along with urgent questions being asked about our reliance on cheap, low-quality, untraceable food and recent positive sales figures all suggest the market will return to growth.
Report findings show organic shoppers are increasingly choosing the convenience and variety offered by online shopping and specialist stores versus the limited ranges and stock at many supermarkets. Indeed the three leading brands Ocado, Abel & Cole and Riverford saw a 10.3% increase in sales. Another key trend is the 'Jamie Generation' of ethically aware consumers. Under 35s significantly increased their average spending on organic products in 2012, pointing to a healthy future for the organic market.
The organic dairy sector, non-food and catering are also showing a positive uplift. The food service sector is opening up rapidly, supported by the Food for Life Catering Mark, where the organic range is in demand and growing.
Boom in online sales
- Organic shoppers are increasingly choosing the convenience and variety offered by home delivery over limited ranges at many supermarkets.
- A striking success in 2012 was seen by Ocado, increasing organic sales by 6.4%, and overtaking Asda and Morrisons to become the UK's fourth-largest organic retailer - with predicted further growth of 10-15% in 2013.
- Home-delivery specialists Ocado, Abel & Cole and Riverford, increased their combined organic sales by 10.3% in 2012, putting them as front runners of organic box scheme sales.
- Sainsbury’s saw its online organic sales increase by a remarkable 48%.
- Independent outlets saw a 0.7% increase in sales, covering box schemes, mail order, farm and health-food shops, farmers' markets and catering.
- Now valued at £480.6 million, the independent sector is providing consumers with a high street alternative for the ethical consumer.
- Reduced availability of organic products in various supermarkets has affected the market both in the short term, and looking at future growth.
- The seven leading multiple retailers saw their organic sales fall by 3.8%.
- Sales of supermarkets own-label ranges fell by 11.2% in 2012. Success of Duchy Originals own-label range contributed to a 1.1% increase in Waitrose organic sales.
- Box scheme, home-delivery and mail-order sales increased by 4.4% to £174.3 million.
- A third successive year of healthy growth was spearheaded by Abel & Cole and Riverford, whose turnover increased by 20% and 8% respectively.
- Abel & Cole’s weekly deliveries reached the 50,000 mark, increasing by a quarter.
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What our supporters told us
The report shows that many organic shoppers are looking beyond their supermarket shelves to find the organic choice and variety they want. This is backed up by our survey of the availability of organic which found that many people are struggling to find enough organic range.