stuart ibbotson quote web

From dairy to vegetables, Britons are rediscovering their love for all types of organic products as an upsurge in demand for new tastes and preferences continues to take the food & drink industry by storm.

According to a September briefing from the Soil Association, the UK organic market grew 5.6% between August 2015 and August 2016. The organic market is on its way to break the £2bn mark this year as sales continue to outperform non-organic sales.

The market was hit hard by the recession but, with the economy beginning to recover, organic has undergone a period of growth, with consumers once again broadening their shopping habits. More widely, this boost in popularity can be explained by a boom in the food & drink industry. Today consumers are seeking more choice, to suit a variety of diets and lifestyles, whether free-from, paleo, or organic.

This resurgence of the market shows why now is the time for brands and retailers to solidify their commitment to organic. And the potential in dairy is arguably the greatest.

In its 2015 report, the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative revealed the £398m organic dairy market was one of the fastest growing organic sectors in the UK, with total organic dairy growing at 8.4% in 2014.

This makes it the perfect moment to launch our first Arla-branded organic product, Arla Organic Farm Milk. As the world’s largest producer of organic dairy products, we have until now focused mainly on own label. However, with the market now ripe for continued expansion, we’ve harnessed our existing supply chain of over 80 UK farmers, who produce some 100 million litres of organic milk, to enable the creation of an Arla-branded organic milk product.

Arla Organic Farm Milk does not just reinforce our commitment to organic. It also helps drive more value into the category by making organic milk more widely accessible.

Successful and responsible brands should do more than merely respond to consumer preferences. Market leaders are those that can inspire and educate new consumers. In relative terms, organic is still niche, appealing to a small group of engaged consumers. According to recent figures from the Soil Association, only 12% of shoppers actively look for organic products.

Launching a dedicated Arla-branded product extends the message on a mass scale, boosts the category as a whole by promoting NPD and sets new standards for innovation and quality.

Supported by a multimillion-pound campaign for Arla Organic Farm Milk in the new year, Arla will make organic products accessible and relevant to a larger group of consumers.

That kind of awareness works. In Scandinavia, a strategy focused on NPD and increasing the choice and availability of organic lines helped make them category mainstays. In Denmark, organic now represents 30% of overall fresh milk sales compared with 4% here in the UK.

With Arla Organic Farm Milk, we want to offer more choice and celebrate the fantastic work our organic farmer owners do to provide more choice for all.

Stuart Ibberson is senior marketing director Arla Foods UK