The Soil Association is looking to boost flagging organic sales by lobbying supermarket executives to put organic back on their strategic agendas.

The Association believes the reason a lot of organic lines have been delisted recently is that buyers tend to be driven by short-term targets and do not always see organic as a must-have for offering choice to consumers.

It has therefore written to senior executives and supermarket board members to arrange meetings and discuss its Road to 2020 strategic plan.

The move comes after the Association revealed at its annual conference on Friday that the UK’s organic market had suffered a further decline, with value sales down 3.7% to £1.7bn.

Soil Association trade director Finn Cottle blamed much of the decline on supermarket buyers shrinking their organic ranges.

“If you’re a buyer, marketer or range planner making a decision about organic, in a number of cases the higher price might not keep it on shelf,” she said.

To return organic sales to growth, decisions needed to be taken at a more senior, strategic level than buyers, Cottle added.

She pointed to sales of Fairtrade goods, which were performing strongly, partly because supermarkets had supported the sector.

Cottle would not be drawn on which supermarkets had responded to the Association’s letter, but revealed it had received responses from about half the retailers it had written to.