ORGANIC FOOD sales are booming as UK shoppers make the conscious choice to seek out foods with lower environmental and animal welfare impacts.

The was the picture painted by the latest data from NielsenIQ presented at last week’s Soil Association Certification Trade Conference. The organic market remains in buoyant good health, with 6.5% growth in the year to September, in marked contrast to non-organic food which has seen sales stall in recent months following their ‘lockdown high’.

Read more: UK organic market hits a 15 year high

But the trend for 'more sustainable and healthier' organic foods which emerged during the pandemic has persisted. Online organic sales have continued their strong growth up 33%, while supermarkets, which accounted for 13% of total sales of organic two years ago before the pandemic, have seen their share of total organic sales rise to 22%.

Soil Association business development director Clare McDermott said: “Organic sales have shown phenomenal resilience after the unprecedented growth they saw in 2020 at 12.6%. Despite a significant slowing of retail sales overall the organic market has maintained its strong performance with growth at 6.5% in the year to September.

Read more: More UK farmland converts to organic

“The latest surge in organic sales proves that the British public want food produced with more, not less, care for the environment and animal welfare. Insights show that shoppers are searching out higher welfare products that are produced with the environment in mind and want to support British farmers. We should be looking to deliver more of the benefits that agroecological farming, like organic, can provide for wildlife, soils, people and climate.”

The latest Organic Shopper Research found that no less than 71% of respondents had become more concerned about the environment, and a similar two-thirds want to know more about where the ingredients in their food come from and that it is safe, with particular regard to pesticide residues.