The organic catering sector is booming after growing by 15.2% in the past year, according to the Soil Association's 2016 Organic Market Report.
Launched today, the report shows that the organic catering sector was one of the biggest-growing organic markets in the UK in the past year. Sales of organic products were worth £1.95b, the report said, with the UK organic market having grown 4.9% overall.
But while sales of organic products in supermarkets had grown 3.2%, and for independent retailers by 7.5%, the catering sector saw a rise of 15.2%, making it the fastest-growing sector in the past year. Organic food within catering is now worth £64.m.
Overall, more than £9m is spent on organic food through the Soil Association Catering Mark, an increase of 28.5% itself, the report said.
Organic food is often argued to be healthier - with organic milk said to be richer in omega 3 fatty acids, for example - with higher concentrations of antioxidants and lower concentrations of heavy metals and chemical pesticide residues.
Martin Sawyer, chief executive of Soil Association Certification, said: "This is a hugely exciting time for the organic sector, with the market set to break through the £2b mark in 2016 and reach levels seen before the recession."
The report findings come just weeks after the Soil Association and the Carbon Trust partnered to develop a sustainable catering standard, in addition to the existing Food for Life catering Mark, allowing caterers to improve the food they serve.
Founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists and nutritionists, the Soil Association is a charity that campaigns for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use, and seeks to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment.
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