Soil Association highlights increasing ecological concerns of UK consumers

Tue 09/11/2021 by Richard Wilkinson

The latest data from NielsenIQ show that the UK’s organic market UK grew by 6.5% in the year to 25 September. This contrasts with non-organic food sales, which have slowed significantly since their peak during lockdown.

The Soil Association stated: “The trend for more sustainable and healthier organic foods, which rocketed during the pandemic has persisted and now the supermarkets are also enjoying a surge in demand for organic. Online organic sales have continued their strong growth of 33%, while supermarkets, which accounted for 13% of total sales of organics before the pandemic, have seen their share of total organic sales rise to 22%.”

The main reasons given by consumers for buying organic – that they are pesticide-free, better for the environment and perceived to be of better quality – have all reportedly increased in importance for shoppers.

Covid-19 and the climate emergency have also increased consumers’ focus on sustainability. Findings from Organic Shopper Research 2021 showed that 71% of respondents have become more concerned about the environment. The Soil Association called on retailers to help consumers make the connection between sustainability and organic products in order to drive sales.

It also identified three big opportunities to grow organic sales: the widening assortment from online retailers, different pack sizes increasing purchase frequency and greater choice across organic categories boosting overall spend.

Key findings from Organic Shopper Research 2021:

  • 79% are increasingly worried about the natural world and our impact on it
  • 81% are worried about excess packaging and waste materials
  • 86% would like their food to be produced in a more natural way without excess processing and chemicals
  • 84% say trust in food manufacturers and retailers is really important to them
  • 77% want to make more sustainable choices in the products they buy
  • 71% want to make more ethical choices in the products they buy


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