According to research carried out by C & M Research Services, growth within the organic food industry “looks set to be fuelled by environmental, animal welfare and health concerns”. Researchers have also said that disposable income levels, consumer sentiment, as well as the price and availability of organic food will have an effect on demand.
In the five-year period from 2007 to 2012, the organic industry, which sells meat and vegetables amongst other consumables and non-consumables, grew at a rate of 5.5% and, by 2012-2013, hit £1.64bn. However, research suggested that during the five-year period revenue has declined by 0.9%.
The decline in revenue, according to research, has led to organic food sales being relatively low compared to the more “conventional” foods. In accordance with the decline, researchers predicted that organic food sales will account for just 1.2% of total supermarket revenue, both this year and in 2013.
Josh Stride of the Soil Association explained: "As consumers become increasingly aware of the impact their food choices have on other people and the environment as well as their own health, the desire for high animal welfare and avoiding pesticides are also higher on the food agenda. With this awareness consumers want to be sure that what they’re purchasing is aligned with their values so they can effectively vote for the food and farming systems they want to support every time they shop."
An estimated 77,425 shops sell organic food in the UK, which includes supermarkets, convenience stores and speciality food retailers. However, researchers said most outlets are not organic food-specific and sell a variety of products including organic.