The Soil Association's 2017 Organic Market Report has revealed a 19% increase in organic sales across catering and high street in the foodservice sector, which it claims is now worth £76.6 million.
The total UK organic market is now worth £2.09 billion, and represents around 1.5% of the total UK food and drink market.
Since last year, the Soil Association has seen a 66% increase in sales of organic food through the Food for Life Catering Mark with over £15m being spent on organic in schools, hospitals, nurseries, workplaces and universities.
Over one third of UK schools serve Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark Silver or Gold meals. High street restaurant chains and visitor attractions are including more organic products on their menus, including Jamie's Italian, McDonalds, Nando's, Chester Zoo and Eden Project.
Rich Watts, senior Catering Mark manager at Soil Association Certification said; "Organic is increasingly seen as a shortcut to healthy lifestyle choices and there are clear opportunities for food providers as more and more people seek out organic choices. Soil Association research reveals that organic ticks many boxes for customers, including eating better food, knowing where your food comes from, and avoiding pesticides or antibiotics.
"The catering sector is leading the way in driving up the standards of food served outside of the home and responding to the demand for better food. Organic is part of this and the spend on organic through the Food for Life Catering Mark is hugely encouraging. We are supporting caterers and foodservice by improving links throughout the supply chain through the Catering Mark Supplier Scheme, and there are clear opportunities for all involved as more people search out British, local and organic produce."
Ian Platt, head of supply chain services at BaxterStorey explains why they search out organic ingredients; "Our company prides itself in finding ways to add value to the customer, whether that be through the training and development of our teams or the sourcing of our ingredients. Whilst we look to source fresh ingredients they should also be ethical and traceable. In many of the environments where we work organic gives us and our customers confidence that a product has been produced naturally and without harm to the environment. Our accreditations through silver and gold catering marks have praised this approach."â
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