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From strength to strength

Christmas has been a mixed period for major retailers, with like-for-like sales showing little increase and in some cases showing a significant fall. It's still early for smaller independent retailers and direct sellers to produce results, but an informal survey by OCW suggests they've done rather well.

Rhug in North Wales report that last year, 2013, got off to a difficult start but there was a dramatic change as the year progressed with retail outlets and restaurants following customer demand for the health benefits of organic produce. They are very optimistic for 2014, with peoples aspirations on the up, and exports remaining strong. Having opened new markets in the Middle and Far East, where organic meat is very important, they are targeting the focus of customers on healthy eating, a sector of the market which is much less price sensitive.

Capestone in Pembrokeshire has reported a massive 50% increase in sales of both chicken and Turkey products. Organic chicken products are growing consistently with both retail and export consistently strong.

Abaca mattresses are also bucking the trend, with an increase in inquiries and orders in January. They've been buoyed by the decision of John Lewis to use the Abaca branding in preference to their own label. This shows the importance buyers attach to the story behind the product.

A trend towards buying direct and from independent retailers is good news for the organic sector. Every sale is an opportunity to communicate the principles behind organic production to customers and build commitment to organic products.

Happy New Year!

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