The UK organic sector is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the market is leveling off after a year of slowing decline in sales, but much depends on consumer confidence after the government spending cuts are implemented this month.
Eight organisations from as many European countries have formally announced the creation of the Leading Organic Alliance (LOA), a grouping which will co-operate closely to push at the boundaries and definitions of what is ‘organic’.
Negative reporting of another study comparing organic and non-organic products in the UK may support the Soil Association’s belief that the sector is viewed more sceptically – by government as well as media – in Britain than in other parts of Europe.
FoodNavigator talks to Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, about communication efforts to help more consumers understand and engage in organics, and the all-important issue of climate change.
The UK organic sector is cheered by a 1.7 per cent increase in the market in 2008 despite the gloom of recession, as a report from the Soil Association sees consumers buying cheaper organics instead of switching back to conventional foods.
The UK’s Soil Association has decided to allow organic air freighted food to carry its certification mark, despite proposing in 2007 that it should not be certified unless it also met fair trade and ethical standards.
Organic has an image problem. As some consumers fear they are, quite literally, priced out of the farmers market, it’s time to stir up more debate about organic as a set of principals, not as a status symbol.