Wake Up to Organic
The theme of this year's Soil Association Organic Fortnight is "Wake up to an Organic Breakfast" and schools, restaurants, businesses and communities across the country are holding organic breakfasts and related events. Organic is big here; the annual Organic Market Report issued to coincide with the two week celebration of all things organic found that retail sales of organic products through organic box and mail order schemes and other direct routes increased from £95 million in 2005 to £146 million in 2006 - a 53% increase. Organic health and beauty products are booming too--there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of products licensed with the Soil Association. The biggest growth was in the popularity of box schemes (fruit and vegetables delivered to the home). Those sales increased by 53%, now that the supermarkets have gotten involved. In fact, supermarkets sell 75% of all organic products.
However all is not perfect. The amount of land in the UK used for growing organic has decreased for the third year in a row, and is now 22% less than in 2004. The price of cereals has risen due to more American farmers switching to grow biofuel crops. UK self-sufficiency in organic cereals is falling. A Soil Association director has said that "Prices will have to rise. There has been a substantial rise in the price of grain, soya and maize. It's leading to a shortage of organic cereals. Farmers are finding it harder to find the food for livestock. I am very nervous for [organic] pig and poultry farmers." Purchasing is still largely done by the relatively affluent, and nearly half of the people who bought organic last year thought it was too expensive. :: Soil Association