The organic sector has continued to grow for the third consecutive year, with the UK market now worth £1.95 billion.
Sales of organic have continued to outperform the non-organic grocery market which decreased by 0.9 per cent in the same period, according to the Soil Association’s 2016 Organic Market Report.
Shoppers spent an extra £1.73 million a week on organic products in 2015, aiding an overall market growth of 4.9 per cent.
The report highlighted a shift in consumer shopping habits with more people now using independent retailers and box schemes which grew by a combined 8.2 per cent in 2015. Consumers are now spending more than £544m every year through these channels.
Soil Association analysis also found the sustained interest in organic was partially driven by an increase in young and socially conscious ‘millennials’ with strong social, ethical and environmental values.
“These consumers are increasingly choosing organic because they want to know the origins of their food and are willing to pay more for products with quality assurance standards supporting the environment, society and animal welfare,” the report said.
The increase in organic grocery was driven by products such as jams and spreads (+28.1 per cent), fish (+25.1 per cent), oils and vinegars, and tea (+12.8 per cent).
Martin Sawyer, CEO of Soil Association Certification, said the amount of organic food used by the catering sector grew by 15.2 per cent in 2015 - making it the most buoyant sector of the organic market.
“Organic food within the catering sector is now worth £64.3m, a success due in part to the £9m spent on organic food through the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark scheme, as well as widespread use of organic milk in high street chains,” said Mr Sawyer.
It comes after a study published last week in the British Journal of Nutrition found organic dairy and meat carried more nutritional benefits than its non-organic equivalent.
This follows earlier research which showed organic crops contained higher concentrations of antioxidants and lower concentrations of some heavy metals, less chemical pesticide residues and nitrite/nitrate.