Organic Product Sales Hit a 15 Year High Thanks to Online Shopping

The UK’s organic market worth has grown 12.6% in 2020, now totaling £2.79 billion. The information was revealed in The Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report 2021.

This marks the highest recorded growth rate in 15 years and sees the organic market outperform the non-organic market. The report cites that in 2020 people spent more than £50m per week on organic food products.

Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant, Soil Association Certification, said that “The unprecedented crisis of 2020 has brought immense challenges across the entire food supply chain – not least for organic businesses.”

“So, it’s significant that in times of crisis, people are turning to organic products for the assurance of transparency, integrity, and quality they provide. Organic is now rightfully recognized as the cornerstone of a resilient food and farming system and a vital part of the solution to the climate, nature, and health crises.”

Since more people are now spending more time at home and preparing their own meals, many UK shoppers have come to appreciate the range of organic options available online. Thanks to that, this channel saw a growth of 36.2 percent, according to the report. At this rate, the organic market is expected to reach £2.9 billion by the end of 2021.

This shift also creates plenty of opportunities for organic businesses to innovate and improve their online stores. The growth in online sales saw a rapid increase in the search for the best eCommerce platforms, which has made comparison sites like this one more important than ever.

Online and home delivery organic growth saw a 36.2% increase, as noted in the report. In 2020, nearly one out of every four organic products were purchased online. The online and home delivery methods for organic products surpassed independent retailer sales for the first time, amassing almost £500M.

Customer Numbers, orders, and sales of organic products all increased during the pandemic through rising interest and the ease of ordering to become the preferred choice. 2020 was a jumbled year for many operators of food and drink retailers the world over, but online orders aided with the increased online activity.

Managing Director of Organic Veg Box Company, Riverford, Ron Haward said, “Riverford was already experiencing strong growth early in 2020, before COVID-19, driven by a desire for more organic and plant-based eating.

“In the face of the surge in demand we experienced during the pandemic we reduced our range back to veg boxes to meet our customers’ needs and limit our sales to new customers. We are now building back up to a narrower more veg-focused range.

“Even with these measures in place, our sales increased by more than 40 percent compared to the prior year, and sales are remaining at these high levels as the continuing restrictions on people’s lives drives strong demand for home delivery of fresh organic food.”

Organic supermarkets saw a 12.5% increase in sales; however, independent retailers have not enjoyed the same. Community and high street stores benefited from citizens shopping locally and saw substantial revenue increases—even with city center stores closing.  How many of these newly acquired shopping habits will stay the same after the pandemic is over remains to be seen.

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