Blog: An organic re-evaluation?

Michelle Russell | 20 July 2010

It is probably common knowledge that the organic market has taken a bit of a hit in the last year or so as the recession saw shoppers look for cheaper alternatives in their weekly shop.

Figures from the Soil Association show that demand for UK organic food stopped growing at the end of 2008 as the downturn began to hit consumer spending, and in 2009, sales dropped 12.8%.

This may explain why figures from The Soil Association show that for the 12 weeks ended 14 June, the share of Asda’s organic range dropped from 9.4% to 8.6%. Likewise, Marks and Spencer’s share also dropped – from 3.7% to 2.3%.

“Marks and Spencer has taken more organic products out of its range in a bid to have more of a value image,” Finn Cottle, acting trade director for The Soil Association told attendees.

On the other hand however, Waitrose has increased its share from 17.8% to 21.2%, as has Morrisons, from 6.6% to 7.1%.

Cottle explained: “Retailer strategies are swinging back to premium foods. They are back in growth again. All brands are spending huge amounts on organics and that is a sign of returning consumer confidence.”

Indeed, if this is the case, retailers like Asda and Marks and Spencer may need to re-think their “value” strategies.


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