In the UK, the Telegraph reports that demand for organic food is falling by nearly a third, from a year ago, as consumers economize. Are they right?
Several supermarkets have confirmed a decline in organic sales during the economic slowdown but the Soil Association, the country's leading organic organisation, says this is because of the growth of independent stores selling boxes of locally-sourced organic produce for home delivery.
In other words, the Soil Association is seeing a boom in local -- underscored by the enormous growth in farmers markets and CSAs in the U.K.
I haven't seen any recent comparable figures for the U.S., though a headline in the newsletter from the Northeast Organic Dairy Farmers Alliance read:
"Organic pay price declines as processors panic over spring flush of milk and declining growth in sales." The article quotes figures saying that demand for organic milk grew 24% in 2008 but is projected to grow in the single-digits in 2009. Prices farmers get for organic milk have already fallen. The spring flush, by the way, is the time of year when cows produce a lot of milk.
If any market research types want to chime in with the latest data, I'd be interested to see if the U.S. is seeing anything like the reported fall in the U.K.
- Samuel Fromartz