Sales of organic food and drink in the UK rose by 6% last year to a record £2.2bn, fuelled by strong growth through independent outlets and home delivery which outpaced sales in rival supermarkets.
Almost 30% of all organic sales now take place online or on the high street, according to a new report from Soil Association, the trade body which licenses organic products and promotes organic farming.
In a sixth year of consecutive growth, sales have bounced back after plummeting following the recession. Last year’s £2.2bn figure – up from £2.09bn in 2016 – beats the pre-recession all-time high of £2.1bn in 2008.
The organic market is still dwarfed by the size of the overall food and drink sector – the largest manufacturing segment in the UK and now worth £112bn according to the the Food and Drink Federation. However, non-organic sales edged up by only 2% over the same period, the report says.
Sales of organic products in supermarkets rose by 4.2% to £1.5bn, while independents – delis, fine food stores, health shops, farm shops, farmers’ markets and retailers such as Whole Food Markets and Planet Organic – enjoyed a 9.7% sales jump to £359m. Home delivery services including box schemes saw a jump of 9.5% to £286m.
Consumers are also buying more organic items in non-food categories, snapping up beauty products, where sales rose 24%, and textiles, where sales soared by 25%.
Is glyphosate toxic to humans?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has found trace amounts of a widely-used and controversial herbicide in roughly 30 per cent of food products it tested, and residue levels above the recommended limits in nearly four per cent of grain products.
Canada’s food safety watchdog released a report this week outlining the results of its glyphosate testing program which looked at more than 3,100 samples of domestic and imported food products in 2015 and 2016.
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Testing used 482 samples of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, 2497 samples of grains (barley, buckwheat, and quinoa), beverages, bean, pea, lentil, chickpea and soy products and 209 retail samples of infant foods.
Here’s what the CFIA found when it tested food products for glyphosate residue and measured it against the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) set by Health Canada.