Scots top spenders on organic food

Increased availability has helped boost organic food sales in Scotland.
Increased availability has helped boost organic food sales in Scotland.
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Scots have bought more organic food in the past year than people elsewhere in the UK, a report by the Soil Association shows.

The organisation’s 2017 Organic Market Report shows the sector north of the Border has risen by 11.7 per cent. While the Scottish market has previously grown more slowly than the rest of the UK, this marks the second year of growth.

Experts said that people in Scotland are no different to consumers in the rest of the UK in wanting to buy products whose provenance they trust. However, they said organic food is now more widely available in supermarkets, cafés, restaurants and even fast-food outlets such as McDonalds.

The Soil Association has also launched its Organic Served Here scheme through Soil Association Certification, rating restaurants on how much organic food they serve.

Key organic trends from the report for Scotland and the UK, compiled by Kantar Worldpanel analysts, included supermarket food sales growing by 6.3 per cent, home delivery being up by 10.5 per cent, organic produce in the food service sector rising by 19.1 per cent and sales in the beauty and wellbeing sector growing by 13 per cent – this is now worth £61.2 million.

Alison Muirhead, Soil Association Scotland business development manager, said that, despite incomes being under strain, a greater range of people were including organic items in their weekly shop.

She said: “A growing number of people are buying a little bit of organic food rather than just a limited number going mostly organic.

“There is a wider range of groups now, such as expectant mothers wanting something they can feel reassured is safe, or people who have picked up on animal welfare buy organic meat and dairy.”

Ms Muirhead said improved availability of organic produce and lifestyle trends had also played a major part in higher sales in the sector across Scotland.

“We now have supermarkets selling organic food and doing online deliveries and other people doing box schemes which means people can get access to produce when they want it.”

Ms Muirhead added that despite uncertainty over Brexit, there were opportunities for food exports and that the Scottish Government was running a scheme encouraging farmers to try organic farming.