New research by Bord Bia reveals retail sales of organic food are approaching €10m, says Shelley Marsden
NEW organic cafes and organic food lines in major supermarkets have been a reality in the UK for a few years now, but it seems Ireland is picking up the pace in its love for organic.
New consumer research launched by Bord Bia has highlighted a return to growth in the retail value of organic food in Ireland for the first time since 2010.
The study values annual retail sales of organic food at €99.1 million, up from €97 million last year, with almost 60% of consumers surveyed purchasing organic produce in the last six months.
Retail sales of organic food reached a record high of €106 million in 2010. There are currently 1,721 registered organic operators in Ireland and over 52,000 hectares of land is being used to produce organic food.
Organic purchasing remains stable amongst core shoppers over the last six years and more people are buying into the category than before. The main organic consumer is female, urban-living and ABC social demographics.
Top factors organic purchasers associate with organic food include it being free from chemicals and pesticides, being healthier, free from antibiotics, being more natural, good for nature and the environment and having an improved taste.
Some 73% of current purchasers claim that a ‘local organic’ product proposition would increase their interest in buying organic produce, and 50% of all organic buyers agree that buying Irish organic food is very important to them.
Over a quarter of organic buyers reported that the amount of organic food they have purchased in the last year has increased, with two thirds reported no change in consumption.
While organic products are more likely to be used for regular eating occasions among consumers, use for ‘special occasions’ is growing e.g. 66% purchase organic for a romantic meal at home, same for when giving food as a gift and over 50% will purchase organic for dieting and detoxing, linked to perceived health benefits of organic food amongst shoppers
The National Organic Awards 2014 will take place in Ireland in October. Further information and application details will be available shortly on www.bordbia.ie.