Demand for organic meat on the rise, says Soil Association

Consumers are increasingly looking to buy organic beef and lamb. ©iStock/Inna Felker

UK sales of organic red meat are on a high, boosted by a belief that it is healthier than conventionally produced meat, according to the Soil Association.

The UK's organic certification body, the Soil Association, believes sales of organic meat have been boosted by a scientific study published in the British Journal of Nutrition earlier this year which suggested organic meat contains up to 50% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced meat.

Nielsen's UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins, told FoodNavigator the movement is also being fuelled by an increased interest in provenance of food.

“UK food and food provenance is important to shoppers: 61% of shoppers look to buy British food and 50% wish to buy local. This motivation helps sales of organic food and drink.”  

Spokesperson for the Soil Association Emily McCoy said it had noticed a variety of meat companies seeking organic certification - both manufacturers of processed meat products and producers of whole cuts.

Some companies selling direct will look at selling specific products, i.e. cuts and joints of meat, but there is also an increased demand for organic meat through the Food for Life Catering Mark scheme, with more catering companies progressing to a gold Catering Mark and searching for organic meat to serve in their meals for schools, hospitals, workplaces etc,” she said.

Demand was mostly for organic certification of beef and lamb.

Another trend sweeping the meat sector is the rise in demand for antibiotic-free meat.

Last month leading British pork processor Karro trademarked its on-pack logo for meat products produced from animals reared without the use of antibiotics.

The Soil Association's Organic Market report released earlier this year showed UK sales of organic grocery products were outstripping conventional foods, climbing 4.9% to reach £1.95 bn (€2.30 bn) compared with a 0.9% fall for non-organic.

Fish saw particularly high growth, up by 25.1%.

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