As the current inflation numbers are forcing consumers to reconsider their priorities, sales of organic food have dropped for the first time in a decade. According to new research by Nielsen, after ten years of steady growth, sales have fallen by 2.1 percent year-on-year.
However, analysts have said there is “still a long-term trend for sustainability,” which, coupled with long-awaited government support for nature-friendly farming, should continue to encourage farmers to maintain or convert to sustainable farming.
The majority of organic food (77 percent) is bought by a dedicated consumer core (17 percent of the population), but these so-called ‘heavy shoppers’ are also beginning to reduce what they buy in organic.
Head of business insight at Nielsen, Mike Watkins, said: “There is still a long-term trend towards sustainability. And shoppers need to recognize the value of organic as part of the nature and climate crises. People understand the term energy crisis; they need to understand there is also a food security crisis, and we need to change the way we farm to mitigate climate and nature declines.”
While organic is the biggest certification that guarantees sustainable farming, there is also a huge farmer-led groundswell of interest in so-called ‘regenerative farming.’ This method has allowed farmers to cut costs and use of fertilizer, and feed, by replacing with natural plant fertility and greater reliance on soil health.