With current inflation rates forcing consumers to rethink their priorities, organic food sales in the UK have fallen for the first time in a decade. According to new research by Nielsen, sales have fallen by 2.1 percent year-on-year after ten years of steady growth.
However, according to analysts, there is “still a long-term trend for sustainability”, which, coupled with the long-awaited government support for nature-friendly agriculture, should continue to encourage farmers to maintain or switch to sustainable agriculture.
The majority of organic food (77 percent) is purchased by a dedicated Consumer Core (17 percent of the population), but these so-called “heavy shoppers” are also starting to buy less organic.
Head of business insight at Nielsen, Mike Watkins, said: “there is still a long-term trend towards sustainability. And shoppers need to see the value of organic as part of the natural and climate crisis. People understand the term energy crisis; they need to understand that there is also a food security crisis, and that we need to change the way we farm to counteract the deterioration of the climate and nature.”
Although organic is the largest certification that guarantees sustainable agriculture, there is also a huge wave of interest among farmers in so-called “regenerative agriculture”. This method has allowed farmers to reduce the cost and use of fertilizers and feed by replacing them with natural fertility of plants and greater confidence in the health of the soil.