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The organic dairy market in Wales

January 2016

The organic dairy market ended 2015 on a positive note with sales of Branded Calon Wen products well up on the previous year. Supplies of organic dairy milk are in short supply, as you would expect with seasonal production close to its usual nadir in February. This will be slightly offset this year by the extra day but overall there is unlikely to be an overhang of production as the milk supplies increase in the Spring. The wet weather has been a challenge for organic as for conventional with slurry stores at capacity but providing the better weather of recent days continues this will ease and enable cattle to be turned out at their usual time from mid-February onwards. In the Spring Calon Wen will be launching a frozen yoghurt so keep an eye out for this exciting new addition to the Calon Wen range.
Dai Miles, Calon Wen.

OMSCo have also had a fantastic six months with its members winning accolades at major award ceremonies up and down the country. “We've been recognised by both national and international bodies – it's been a special year and we'd like to thank all our membership. Their passion and enthusiasm has contributed to a hugely successful year.” said Richard Hampton, OMSCo's Managing Director. OMSCo launched a new partnership with an American cooperative, Organic Valley, at the end of 2015. The historic agreement, in which the two cooperatives will take a membership in each other's organisation while retaining each cooperative's independence, will provide international opportunities and domestic flexibility, offering access to new markets, products, technical expertise, and sharing of best practices in organic dairy farming.

Sustainable Organic and Low-input Diary project (SOLID) conference
After 5 years, the Sustainable Organic and Low-input Diary project (SOLID) involving 25 partners across 10 European countries, draws to a close this spring. This conference highlighted just some of the project's achievements. As an observer, its 'back to basics' philosophy on the one hand and application of new research outputs and new technologies for a more sustainable future on the other, appealed greatly to me. The spirit of partnership between farmers, supply chain companies and research and development was very much in evidence at the conference and is, in my view, one 0f the hallmarks oh a successful project. Click here to read Tony's blog on the OCW website.
Tony Little, Sustainable Agriculture.

December 2015

Demand for milk ex farm is good to excellent, since Organic September demand from a number of processors has increased substantially, with non-contracted milk selling at a premium to the contract price. When the new season starts mid-March next year demand will be more than satisfied, supplies are expected to be tight until then. On Liquid bottle sales, Calon Wen sales figures have shown a steady increase in sales with the majority of retail customers. Cheddar sales are steady and Calon Wen's new Preseli Blue and Crumbly Caerffili are selling well. Butter is flying of the shelves in spite of the marked difference in price with conventional.

It is Calon Wen's view that own label organic is possibly struggling versus cut price conventional products, organic consumers by their nature are interested in the provenance of what they buy, only brands can do that. Therefore for consumers to buy organic they need more than just organic on the label!
Dai Miles, Calon Wen

November 2015

UK sales of organic yogurt remain stable against the backdrop of strong promotional activity of the key brands. However, UK organic liquid sales continue to perform poorly, victim of the continuing price war in the conventional market which has resulted in record premiums, and a lack of current focus from retailers.

The opportunity in new markets, particularly for specialist products in the export market, is the notable bright spot but these are complex, have lead times and amount to a relatively small proportion of total volume.

Overall, demand for raw organic milk ex farm is flat at best, with little if any opportunity for additional supplies to be absorbed by the market.
Richard Hampton OMSCo

Organic Dairy products continue to have the highest penetration of all organic food categories, and also account for the largest share of total organic sales at just over 30%. This year has been a challenging one for organic milk when even the most loyal organic shoppers have reappraised their choice while the price of non-organic milk is so low - the on shelf premium in many supermarkets is now at +85% for 4 pints of organic milk. Yoghurt is still outperforming its non-organic equivalents and fueling the continuing growth in the overall category while organic cheese and butters & fats are often struggling to maintain their position on shelf amidst a sea of promotions. Fortunately Dairy still drives much of the growth in the organic market.
Finn Cottle, Soil Association

October 2015

"The organic dairy market is still performing well with solid year on year growth in value, however organic milk sales in supermarkets are slipping each month as a consequence of the very low retail price of non organic milk. Cheese and butters/fats have fallen back slightly while the organic yoghurt market remains buoyant through the main brands"
Finn Cottle Trade Development Soil Association Certification Ltd

Conventional milk. According to the most recent DEFRA figures, the average UK farmgate price stood at 23.26ppl in August. This was a 0.20ppl (0.8%) decrease on the July average price. The August 2015 price was 7.77ppl (25.0%) lower than the same month last year. (AHDB)

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