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Foodservice powers organic growth

Foodservice showed the strongest growth in organic sales of any sector in 2016, according to the Soil Association’s latest Organic Market Report.

The 19.1% growth in sales of organic food and drink products into the foodservice market exceeded growth in supermarkets (+6.1%), independent retailers (+6.3%) and home delivery services (+10.5%) last year.

Overall, the market for organic food and drink sales was worth £2.09bn in 2016, a 7.1% increase on the previous year. The Soil Association said the results show that organic continues to tick a lot of boxes for consumers despite uncertainties surrounding Brexit.

The report noted that organic food is currently more widely available than ever before with many high street chains like McDonalds, Jamie’s Italian, Nando’s and Pret including organic products on their menus.

The cost sector is also in strong growth with more schools, hospitals and workplaces serving organic food. The Soil Association said demand has been driven in part by its Food for Life Catering Mark whose members now spend £15m on organic food.

Despite concerns around Brexit, the Soil Association said prospects for organic remain strong. “Organic is extremely relevant for trends towards eating better food, knowing where your food comes from, avoiding pesticides or antibiotics and ‘free from’ diets,” said Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification. “Increasingly, we’re seeing consumers choose organic as a shortcut to a healthy lifestyle and this will continue.”