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Supermarkets failing to capture the high value organic shopper

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Britain’s supermarkets are missing a trick as sales of organic food and drink continue to grow says the Organic Trade Board.

The OTB’s campaign manager, Catherine Fookes, tells The Times today that none of the Big Four – Tesco, Asda, Sainbsury’s, and Morrison’s – currently has “a proper strategy” for organic.

Quoting from a recent OTB survey, which estimates that UK consumers spend around £6 million a month on organic products, she tells the newspaper: “Most people who buy organic products said they were not buying them when they did their main shop each week. They are going to independent shops. So that means you have about 15 per cent to 20 per cent of people not buying their organic products at the same time as they do their weekly shop.

“The organic shopper spends double each week on their shopping than a non-organic shopper. The first supermarket retailer that comes up with a proper strategy for organic products and makes it central to their overall proposition will do inordinately well.”

“The first supermarket retailer that comes up with a proper strategy for organic products and makes it central to their overall proposition will do inordinately well”

Fookes says that restricted availability is holding back further opportunity for growth. A significant number of consumers polled by the OTB said they would buy more organic products if they were more readily available.

The situation in the UK – with the exception of Waitrose and Ocado – is in sharp contrast to continental Europe, where stronger retail sales growth has gone hand in hand with wider availability and high visibility, dedicated organic displays.

At an OTB workshop earlier in the year the chief operating officer of Danish discounter Netto, Thor Jørgensen, revealed that 10% of the retailer’s total food offer is now organic, and that it even produces an organic-only shopping newspaper to promote it under the slogan ‘Everyone should be able to afford organic’.

• Thor Jørgensen will be giving a talk entitled ‘Netto – Our organic journey  at the Nordic Organic Food Fair (Malmo, Sweden, 1-2 November 2015)

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