Sales of organic bakery and cakes have improved significantly since the Soil Association’s (SA) 2015 Market Report. 

Bakery was one of the few areas of the organic market which failed to see growth in 2015 – the overall UK organic sales grew 4.9% to £1.95bn. But the SA’s Organic Market Report 2016 shows that although sales were still down, they had improved.

Sales of bakery and cakes were down 2.9%, with the bakery sector taking a 1.6% share of organic multiple sales of food and drink, according to Nielsen figures. But Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at the SA said that compared with 2015’s report, sales of organic bakery and cakes had improved significantly. (In 2013-14 the sector fell 15.6%).

Overall increase in sales

Holdstock told British Baker: “We are seeing an overall increase in sales of organic through independent stores – this includes speciality shops, such as artisan bakeries. This year’s report reveals that the share of organic food sold through supermarkets has dropped below 70% indicating people are going elsewhere to look for their organic purchases.”

Declining bakery sales may be linked with the trend that has seen people turning away from bread in general, and favouring gluten free options and other choices, he suggested.

Some 16% of organic sales were through independent retailers, with 69% through supermarkets, the SA report said.

Catering wholesalers including Bidvest and Brakes have expanded their organic portfolios, as smaller coffee shops and restaurants make the most of a rising interest in organic and healthy foods, according to the report.

Hugely exciting

Martin Sawyer, chief executive of SA certification said: “This is a hugely exciting time for the organic sector, with the market set to break through the £2bn mark in 2016 and reach levels seen before the recession.

“Thanks to the growth of online, it is now possible for retailers to connect consumers with the broadest choice of organic products.” 

Last September, Nielsen reported that the steady growth in organic foods presented new opportunities for brands and retailers.