Organic fruit and vegetables are driving the demand for health conscious consumers to choose organic labels in other grocery items.
And as a result, Tesco says its organic sales have shot up 15% in the last year which is the strongest growth in customer demand for more than a decade.
Areas that have seen the strongest growth include the fresh produce category in general, but particularly apples, carrots, salads and root vegetables, up by almost 17%.
“Due to our long-term partnerships with suppliers and producers across the UK, we’ve been able to improve the quality, range, availability and price of our organic products for customers,” says Tesco organic food spokesperson Tina Moore.
“We are seeing that shoppers are increasingly looking to buy organic food but it needs to be affordable and consistently high quality all year round for it to be considered a viable option.
“The popularity of organic food began with fruit and vegetables but we are now seeing customers exploring areas such as grocery, fish and dairy, so you can now use organic produce for the whole meal.”
Late last year, Tesco joined forces with the Organic Trade Board on an initiative which helped customers discover the breadth of its in-store organic range. They provided boxes containing organic grocery items so that shoppers could create their own organic meal at home which resulted in 7.5 million Tesco online customers receiving a free ingredients box.
Organic Trade Board CEO, Paul Moore, says that globally organics is “on the move”.
“What we’re seeing happen in the UK is what is happening in the US, Germany, France and Denmark, and that is good levels of growth in all markets,” he tells PBUK.
“In the UK, market growth is escalating and the market started to turn around at about the end of 2012, and since then it’s been gaining momentum. In the UK, organics was the only major market that went backwards at the time of the Recession.
“But take a look at look at the long term trend and the organic market is gathering pace. The level of growth is much more deep-seated and retailers are realising its importance.
“Organics have a global brand value and this is increasingly better understood and this message is really getting out there. The message about organics is really hinged around health and that they are better for environment etc and consumers are increasingly getting it and are basically prepared to vote with their pound. It’s not just what is on a packet, but what is means for the consumer, the environment and farming systems for example – that’s what’s driving it,” adds Moore.
The Organic Trade Board recently won a share of £9 million worth of EU funding to help promote organic food in Britain and Denmark and will be working with Tesco to try to further increase the organic market.
Through a number of campaigns the Board will be working with Tesco on increasing the visibility of organic in stores and driving awareness for choosing organics.
“In Denmark the market share has reached 10% and some categories have almost entirely gone over to organics so in supermarkets you will not find a non organic offer such as porridge oats, the baby food area and we see it in carrots and cucumbers also.
“In some schools in Denmark they only offer organic cucumbers and carrots.
“The long term trend will only consolidate.”
Since 2008 Organic Farm Foods has also partnered with Tesco by supplying the retailer with apples from a dedicated organic orchard.
“The organic food revival is gathering pace thanks to retailers like Tesco offering a wider range of quality foods at more affordable prices,” said managing director Adam Wakeley.
“They continue to support the organic sector and the result is continued growth, outstripping non organic foods by some margin.”