CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Country Smallholding today CLICK HERE

Organic food sales not dropping’

PUBLISHED: 13:58 07 September 2008 | UPDATED: 08:27 28 March 2014

Organic farmers have hit back at claims that consumer demand for organic food is dropping as a result of the credit crunch.

Organic farmers have hit back at claims that consumer demand for organic food is dropping as a result of the credit crunch.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said speculation in the national press that people had stopped buying organic food because it was seen as a luxury item was "completely untrue".

"This is still higher than other food sectors, which are expecting a 2-3% increase," he said.

While growth in the organic market had slowed from recent years, market research company Mintel predicted a 10% increase in the market this year, Lord Melchett said.

It is thought the credit crunch has affected larger shops selling expensive organic food – but not smaller producers, who say their local produce can actually save shoppers money.

Guy Watson, the farmer who founded Riverford Organics, said he expects growth of around 10 per cent this year. He was reported as saying that the market had been affected by the ‘green’ claims of some food manufacturers, most of which are “rubbish”.

Government grants to encourage corner shops to stock more fresh fruit and vegetables are to be trialled as part of a Department of Health campaign to persuade people to eat more healthily.

"All of us have to pay more for diesel but the main cost pressure on farms is fertiliser prices, which doesn't affect organic farms. And while organic feed costs have doubled, conventional feed has more than doubled."


Guy Watson, founder of Riverford organic box scheme, said his sales had increased by 10% in the past year.


"There's definitely been a slowdown, but it was inevitable as nothing carries on at that rate [30-50% over five years]. Our established customers are still interested in buying organic."


Markets


Rather than pulling out of organic production, Mr Watson said most of the 13 farmers who supply produce for the box scheme were looking to expand.


"They are committed to what they do and are looking to us to find other markets for them.


"The organic market hasn't had an uninterrupted line of growth. I have been doing this for 22 years and this is the third slow down, so I'm not going to panic."


Richard Hampton, Omsco sales and marketing director, said the economic situation had not altered consumer demand for organic dairy products.


However he said the number of farmers converting to organic had slowed as the return from conventional farming has increased, while cost and supplies of organic feed made organic production less attractive.


"We will be talking to customers to secure an increase so we can give organic dairy farmers the confidence that money will be there to cover rising feed costs."


by Caroline Stocks (About this Author)

0 comments

Interact with other smallholders and post your questions

Visit our forums


More from Land

Friday, September 7, 2018

Although Britain’s record-breaking heatwave has now been broken by rain storms, the impact of the prolonged tinderbox dry summer following a longer than usual winter is likely to continue throughout this year and into next, writes Kim Stoddart

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Ask the experts: during the hot weather, here’s how to preserve dwindling water supplies

Read more
August 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Debbie Kingsley outlines what smallholders-in-waiting need to consider when buying their first property

Read more
August 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Liz Shankland continues her guide to improving herd productivity, this time investigating the importance

Read more
August 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The long run of sunshine and dry days of summer 2018 is impacting smallholders and their livestock and crops

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018

Our guide to getting your lice and mite treatment up to scratch

Read more
July 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018

Debbie Kingsley outlines the rules and regulations for smallholdings. This month: medicine records and fallen stock

Read more
July 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018

The countryside is not immune to crime - in fact, it’s increasing

Read more
July 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018

Jack Smellie looks at what to do when lambing and kidding doesn’t go to plan

Read more
April 2018
Monday, April 9, 2018

Smallholder Tim Tyne advises on the treatment of lambs which are hypothermic

Read more
April 2018

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Country Smallholding monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

This Year’s Shows

Country Smallholding cover image

Don’t miss our comprehensive guide to rural events

Find out more

Like us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter