2018 was the seventh consecutive year of growth for the sector, with sales up 5.3 per cent.
A significant rise in the home delivery of organic through online and box schemes has boosted the organic market by more than 14 per cent, a new report has said.
The figures were revealed in the Soil Association Certification’s latest Organic Market Report which placed the sector at its highest ever value of £2.23 billion by 2018 year-end.
It comes as the seventh consecutive year of growth for the sector at 5.3 per cent, with predictions sales could reach £2.5bn by next year.
The amount of land in conversion for organic also jumped 30 per cent on 2017 figures, with the amount of total organic land having increased for the first time since 2008, by 1.9 per cent.
Finn Cottle, Soil Association Certification trade consultant, said the opportunities for organic ‘go beyond the farm gate’.
He said: “UK organic has a great reputation on a global scale, so securing the right trade deals post-Brexit could bring huge export potential for organic produce.
“As more shoppers turn to organic produce at home and abroad, we are lobbying hard for government to include organic and agroecological approaches to farming in future legislation.”
The report found sales of fresh fruit, salad and vegetables also continued to drive sales in 2018 with a boost of about £15m, with one in three new applications to become Soil Association Certification certified producers in the 2017-18 financial year from people wanting to produce organic fruit and vegetables.
It said fast-changing consumer diets would have a ‘massive impact’ on the organic food and drink market, with shoppers looking to consume more free-from and plant-based alternatives.
In total the number of organic processors increased by more than six per cent and producers by two per cent in 2017.
According to Defra, there were 6,586 organic operators in the UK in 2017, up 3.5 per cent on the year before.