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Indies have taken a body blow but the prospects are good

Soil Association Certification’s 2022 Organic Market Report revealed that independent retailers faced a challenging year with sales dropping 3.3% to £432.1m.

This followed a buoyant period during the pandemic when some retailers, including health food stores, were classed as ‘essential businesses’.

But when pandemic restrictions eased, they faced the challenge of trying to retain these new customers during a period when shoppers were spending less and shopping less often. Over 60% of retailers saw inflation as the number one challenge but two thirds believed that sales would increase in 2023.

What might reverse the 2022 trend? Firstly, the beauty and wellbeing category saw growth only beaten by foodservice.

Secondly, as sustainable choices become more important to consumers and retailers, together with government’s legally binding commitments on the environment, organic with its established standards has the potential to provide clarity and proven credentials in delivering healthy and sustainable choices.

This emphasises that organic is a key solution as governments around the world are looking for the best quality solutions for environmental, nature and health crises. As the Treasury looks for efficient investments to deliver on the government’s net zero and nature commitments, organic offers an established choice which addresses many of the key priorities backed up by evidence and verifiable standards.

And as retailers and food businesses shape up their sustainability profiles and commitments, it is vital that supply chains are as sustainable as possible. Wise investment by business and governments is essential to help consumers make the right choices at the checkout and to prioritise messages which make it clear how they can help to tackle climate change.

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