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Foodservice helps organic hit new high

Sales of organic food and drink have recovered from a crash following the 2008 recession to hit a new all-time high in 2017.

Total sales of organic rose 6% to £2.2bn last year eclipsing the £2.1bn recorded in 2008. Sales tumbled following the financial crisis but have been steadily recovering since 2012 and are now at their highest ever level.

Supermarkets still account for the lion’s share of organic sales, however the fastest growth is coming through foodservice channels where sales grew 10.2% to £84.4m.

The Soil Association’s own Food for Life Served Here scheme has contributed significantly to the increase. It grew by 20% to be worth £18m in 2017.

Businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of growing out-of-home demand for organic food and drink, according to the Soil Association, which noted that organic still has a less than 1% total share of the foodservice market.

Around 1.5% of the total UK food and drink market is organic. Dairy is the largest organic sector followed by fresh produce and babyfood and drink. The highest growth is in chilled foods and deli items whose sales grew by 21.3%.