However, the SA’s annual market report said that increasing numbers of British farmers were marketing organically-raised lamb as non-organic, because of the high price of conventional lamb. Organically-raised beef is also being sold to finishers through the conventional non-organic system.
Research from the SA showed that demand for organic turkey in the UK was up 56%, with organic lamb sales up 16%, and organic chicken up 2.5%, and beef holding its position. This came despite a decrease in the overall organic market in the UK, which fell by 3.7%, which the SA said was largely a result of under-investment by the large multiple retailers, as well as consumer confidence in the tough economic climate.
Demand for organic Scotch beef remained strong over the year, despite a fall in organically farmed land in Scotland. The amount of Welsh lamb sold on the market as organic also rose by 26%, with organic beef up 44% from 2010, according to the Organic Centre Wales producer survey. However, farmers’ confidence in organic seems to be waning in the principality as a result of the narrowing margin commanded by organic produce, and uncertainty over the new agri-environmental schemes. England, however, saw an increase in land converted to organic pasture for beef and lamb, with organic beef cattle numbers rising 13% and lamb up 5%.
The report added that the UK organic market was bucking a global trend, which has seen overall organic sales increase internationally by 8% in 2010.