The Soil Association's second Annual Scottish Organic Briefing, sponsored by Triodos Bank, was held last week at the Fruit Market Gallery in Edinburgh.

Delegates at the event heard from:

  • Finn Cottle, Soil Association Certification, who discussed the latest headlines and  key insights and trends from the Soil Association's 2017 Organic Market Report;
  • Denise Walton of renowned Scotland-based organic meat producers Peelham Farm;
  • Rick Allison, UK Market Analyst at Scotland Food & Drink; 
  • Simon Crichton, Food, Farming & Trade Team Manager at Triodos Bank who analysed the opportunities and outlook for the organic market in Scotland and the UK as a whole.

The 2017 Organic Market Report reveals that growth in the organic market in Scotland has outperformed the rest of the UK in the last 12 months with figures from Kantar Worldpanel showing 11.7% increase in organic sales. Soil Association Certification licensees have reported even higher growth of 21%. In the UK overall organic is now in the fifth year of growth, and the market is worth £2.09 billion.

Key trends from the Soil Association's Organic Market Report for the whole of the UK & Scotland were:

  • Supermarket sales of organic have grown by 6.1%
  • Independent retailers increased sales of organic by 6.3% 
  • Sales of organic products through home delivery have grown by 10.5% 
  • Sales of organic into the foodservice market have grown by 19.1%
  • The organic beauty and wellbeing sector grew by 13% to be worth £61.2 million
  • Soil Association textile licensees increased organic sales by 30% to £28 million
  • In Scotland nearly 60% of Soil Association Certification licensees expect their sales to remain steady in 2017.
  • All Scottish independent stores surveyed expect sales of organic to rise this year

Alison Muirhead, Business Development Manager from Soil Association Scotland said; "The Scottish organic sector has proved yet again that through its focus on quality and innovation it is able to sustain and improve the organic market. Despite uncertainty around Brexit, it brings lots of opportunities too - particularly around export for Scottish organic and more product innovation.

Organic is extremely relevant for trends towards eating better food and 'free from' diets. Our changing relationship with food means consumers increasingly see organic as a shortcut to healthy lifestyle choices. But where they can, people are still buying organic regularly. With the market in steady growth, and recent support for organic in Scotland from the Scottish Government, the future looks positive for Scottish organic producers." 

Previously the Scottish market has grown more slowly than the rest of the UK but this second year of growth, and findings from the Soil Association Certification research published in September last year, shows that Scottish consumers are driven by similar motivations to the rest of the UK. These motivations include searching for products they can trust, a heightened understanding of where their food comes from, and a wish to reconnect with farming and nature.

Triodos Bank has been an active supporter of the organic sector for more than 35 years, working with businesses ranging from farmers and growers to processors and retailers.

Simon Crichton, Food, Farming and Trade Team Manager at Triodos Bank said: "We have been supporting the Scottish organic sector and its supplying chain for many years now and it's great to see the work of devolved government and committed producers delivering in supplying growth in organic consumption and value added export."


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