Organic sales up 15.2%

The catering sector was a star performer for the organic market last year, with sales up 15.2% to £64.3m.

Spend through the Food for Life Catering Mark has been driving sales in the public sector, noted the Soil Association in its latest annual report.

“There is now £9 million spent on organic by Catering Mark holders – up from £7 million last year,” said senior Catering Mark manager Rich Watts.

Many high street chains are also turning to organic. McDonald’s use over 26 million litres of organic milk per year, whilst Pret and Jamie’s Italian provide organic food like porridge, eggs and bread.

Bidvest, Brakes, NCB and many smaller wholesalers across the broader catering spectrum, are also providing broader ranges of organic, the report noted.

Catering still only accounts for just 3% of overall spend on organic food in the UK. Supermarkets continue to dominate with a 69% share.

Following a tough recession, in which sales dropped for three years running, sales of organic turned a corner in 2011. Last year’s £1.95 billion spend is just shy of the 2008 peak of £2.1 billion.

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