May 1, 2012
British politicians should follow the example of their European counterparts and talk-up the health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of organic food if organics in the UK is not to fall further behind the rest of Europe.
This is the message of a leading organic feed company who has told environment minister Caroline Spelman that within two years the Coalition has allowed organics to fall beneath the radar whereas other European governments rarely miss a chance to extol the virtues of organic food.
“Despite strong growth across Europe, UK sales of organic food fell by 3.75 last year, yet there is little reassurance from the top and the core organic messages have largely been lost. Consumers and producers could be forgiven for thinking organics is a low priority,” said Ian Proctor, managing director of Hi Peak Organic Feeds.
“The result has been the needless lost of producers, some of whom would have stayed had the government sent a clear signal of its commitment. Those who leave organics are extremely unlikely to re-enter despite the long-term prognosis being good. Even though the overall market is down, organic baby food, lamb and poultry have seen an encouraging uplift.
“I have no doubt that a growing awareness of the environment toll of chemically produced food will help organics overall and we could then well face the prospect of the UK being reliant on imports to meet demand.
“It is worth noting, for example, that an additonal 1% of the UK population consuming organic milk equates to a 37% increase in organic milk sales. This should be well within our grasp. With government as an effective advocate there would be greater incentive for investment in own-label organic brands and multi retailers, which account for over 70% of organic food sales, would feel a greater incentive to give organic food more prominence,” added Mr Proctor.
Hi Peak Organic Feeds has long campaigned for national single-message campaign to promote the organic brand and believes regulations governing non-organic feeds in organic feed rations should be tightened