Independent bakery retailers are bucking the trends seen in the latest UK organic report, which revealed the market share of organic bread in major multiples has fallen 13.6% in the last year.
The Soil Association’s 2012 Organic Market Report, published earlier this month, revealed the organic bread market is worth £13m and only accounts for 1.1% of the total UK organic market. However, the report only takes into account organic bread sales within multiple retailers.
Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at the Soil Association, said: "While we do not have specific statistics on sales of organic bread by smaller, independent or home-delivery operations, the market in these sectors generally saw smaller declines and even some growth.
"Branded products have been far more resilient to the downturn than retailer own-label products, as they tend to be more innovative and engender greater loyalty with consumers, as well as communicating organic values more coherently through the brand message."
Michael Bell, managing director of the Penrith-based Village Bakery, which specialises in organic breads, said his business is defying the report’s latest statistics: "Our organic rye bread has seen like-for-like sales growth of between 10 and 15%. This is mainly due to the product having more than one USP. It’s wheat-free, free from baker’s yeast and, ultimately, organic.
"We have found sales are up across the board and it is a very buoyant market," he added. "More of our customers say that they feel less bloated with organic rye breads and bakery retailers are becoming more aware of a growing demand for wheat-free and longer fermentation bread.
"What’s great about the bakery trade is that it is very easy to respond to the current market conditions."