Horsemeat proves positive for organic market

The Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2013 has shown that the horsemeat scandal has had a positive impact on organic meats, as some independent suppliers have reported an increase in sales.

Figures from Kantar Worldpanel, cited in the report, proved that total supermarket organic sales had increased to their highest level in nine months. In February, sales increased 8.4% compared to the previous month, and some independent organic meat suppliers reported an increase in sales of around 20%.

Due to severe weather conditions affecting crop yields and livestock quality, as well as farmgate organic premiums being limited, the year has been difficult for organic producers. However, the poultry sector has stabilised and organic beef and sheep producers remain constant.

Commenting on the horsemeat scandal and the increased interest in traceability, the report stated: “It can only serve to reinforce a long list of underlying positives: increased average profitability for organic enterprises in the past five years; increased spending among younger shoppers; rising farmgate prices as supply tightens; the opening up of the catering market; the strength of specialist retailers; unerring market growth in the rest of Europe; and the boom in online sales.”

The overall market, however, fell by 1.5%, but it is believed that the UK organic market will see future growth, as the global organic market has grown 25% in the past three years.

The report further found a large increase in online sales, with Sainsbury’s reporting its online organic sales to have increased by a staggering 48%.

The young ‘Jamie Generation’ – identified in the report as a group of ethically aware, under 35-year-olds – spent significantly more on organic products in 2012.