Independents positive about opportunity to grow organic sales

Independent retailers outperformed supermarkets in sales of organic food, wellness and beauty products in 2023.

New data contained in the 2024 Soil Association Organic Market report shows that independents delivered an impressive 10% growth in 2023, with organic retail sales in the independent channel totalling £475 million. Across all retail channels organic was up 2% in 2023. 

While high inflation fuelled much of this growth, half the independent retailers surveyed also sold more organic goods than the year before. And there is positivity for the future as inflation eases and shopper confidence returns. More than two-thirds of independent retailers expect positive sales in 2024, reporting that the organic message chimes with customers’ concerns around key issues like health and sustainability. 

Health stores reported that organic beauty and wellbeing and supplements categories were performing especially well – which aligns with a wider focus on family health. 

The report shows that independents worked hard to deliver value for money to their customers during a deep and prolonged cost-of-living crisis. 

Unicorn Grocery in Manchester cut prices on everyday organic essentials and explicitly compared RRPs to the supermarkets’ to highlight value – often coming in cheaper than bigger retailers. To drive home the organic message staff also signposted the benefits of organic, and local provenance of produce, around the store. This was rewarded by improved footfall and customer spend – particularly around organic fruit and vegetables. 

Infinity Foods in Brighton meanwhile launched a new Community Card which enables customers earn points every time they shop, which gives them extra offers or money off their shop. 

Main image: Infinity Food in Brighton

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