The Organic Trade Board has secured €10.4m (£9.1m) in EU funding to help grow the organic sector in the UK.
The money will support a three-year campaign starting this month which will aim to increase retail sales of organic products, increase employment in organic agriculture and improve awareness of the benefits of organic, the OTB said.
The funding will see the UK partner with Denmark, which is the world’s leading organic nation for market share and overall consumption, according to Henrik Hindborg, marketing director at Organic Denmark.
Organic sales account for 9% of all grocery sales in Denmark, compared with 1.8% in the UK [Nielsen Scantrack 52 w/e 13 August 2016]. By consumer, the average Brit spends €28 (£24.40) per person on organic food each year. In Denmark it is €162 (£141.10) [FiBL, AMI Organic Data Network Survey, 2016].
The funding will be split between the countries, with the UK receiving €7.2m (£6.3m), and Denmark €3.2m (£2.8m). The OTB’s 60 member companies, including Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have also pledged to support the campaign with £340,000 per annum.
“This award will enable us to triple the investment in helping grow the organic food and drink sector,” said Catherine Fookes, OTB’s campaign manager, who was responsible for securing the bid.
From 2010 to 2016, the OTB spent £3.2m of industry and EU funding to promote the organic sector.
“The organic market is in a clear growth phase in the UK,” said Paul Moore, CEO of OTB. “But there’s still much more we can do - we need to increase availability of organic products and that means convincing retailers that organic should be a key part of their sales strategy.”
“That’s where our partnership with Denmark will be crucial as we share the insights and strategy they have pursued to get more organic on shelf in the UK.”
The Soil Association’s business development director, Clare McDermott, said: “Our research showed more and more people are worried about where their food comes from - organic has the answers and this added boost from EU funding, secured by the OTB, will help make organic an even bigger part of retail in the UK.”