Sales of organic eggs outperforming non-organic, report says

Organic egg sales through major retail have seen substantial growth over the past two years
Organic egg sales through major retail have seen substantial growth over the past two years

Sales of organic eggs are outperforming non-organic eggs, according to the Soil Association, which said that the organic market overall was now worth more than £3 billion.

Supplies of organic eggs continue to grow in the UK, according to figures compiled by Defra.

The number of organic eggs handled by UK packing stations in 2021 totalled nearly 1.2m cases last year compared with just under 1.1m cases during the previous year.

This was an increase of 7.3 percent. The increase in the final quarter of 2021 was even greater - up by 10.6 percent against the final quarter of 2020 and by 12.6 percent on the third quarter of 2021.

A total of 303,000 cases of organic eggs passed through UK packing centres between October and December 2021, according to the Defra figures.

Soil Association Certification’s senior business development manager, Sophie Kirk said: “Sales of organic eggs through major retail remained relatively flat in 2021, however it outperformed non organic egg sales which saw a decline.

"Organic egg sales through major retail have seen substantial growth over the past two years with a double digit increase in sales value between 2019 and 2021.”

The Soil Association recently released its annual organic market report, which shows that overall organic sales grew by 5.2 percent in 2021.

Shoppers spent almost £60 million on organic products every week, continuing 10 years of positive growth for the organic sector.

Soil Association Certification business development director, Clare McDermott said: “Despite challenges across all aspects of production, supply and the market, organic businesses have shown phenomenal resilience and responded to (continually increasing) shopper demand for products that support both health and the environment.

"Shoppers are increasingly looking for products that reflect their values and organic is meeting that need. The wider organic choice available online is bringing new shoppers to the category."

Ms McDermott said that box scheme sales continued to be strong, as shoppers looked for provenance and traceability in their choices and more than a fifth of organic food and drink sold through supermarkets was now online.

Box scheme clients had reported that customers had increased their basket spend on organic, which had encouraged them to expand their ranges.

At Riverford, basket spend was higher as people added extras like bread, milk, eggs and some grocery items to boxes. Dairy sales had also seen an increase through box schemes with whole milk proving popular.

Ms McDermott said: “With shoppers in the UK now spending £60 million a week on organic, there is a huge opportunity for organic businesses to innovate both in channel and product and continue growing the market.”

The report said it had been a mixed year for independent retailers selling organic but the sector had come back into growth as more stores had been able to open.

Some city centre retailers had been negatively affected by more people working from home but many local stores had benefited from this change. Overall the sector had seen an increase in sales of nine per cent in 2021.?

The Soil Association report said that independents saw increased sales of organic fruit and vegetables, as well as dairy, eggs and meat, especially chicken and beef.

“This reflects consumer interest in wanting to know where their food is coming from and support local retailers,” said the report.

“Survey respondents told us that more younger customers are coming into independent stores looking for organic options because they want to eat healthily.”