The sale of organic food is rising in the UK, although it remains relatively low at just 1.5 percent of the total food and drink market. Produce certified as ‘organic’ has to meet a wide range of ethical standards including animal welfare and workers’ rights. However ‘organic’ is best known to essentially mean ‘grown without pesticides’.
Read more about organic and pesticides here.
The majority of UK supermarkets sell organic food and some even have their own-brand organic range. Given the huge benefits that organic agriculture brings, not just for environment but also for human health, animal welfare and a whole host of other issues, supermarkets should be doing more to increase sales of organic. Measures such as offering deals and discounts and expanding the range of organic food on offer, which is often quite limited, could help grow organic sales for supermarkets. This could make a significant contribution to reducing pesticide use in supermarkets’ overall supply chains.
Organic food can be more expensive than its mainstream equivalent. As a result, many shoppers can’t afford to fill their trolleys with organic food. This is, in part, due to a lack of government subsides which have tended to focus on propping up industrial agriculture which is dependent on pesticides. UK supermarkets wield considerable influence and could have a role to play in pushing for an increase in government support for organic producers in the UK.
If you’d like to know which items to prioritise buying organic, you can download our ‘Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen’ lists which show what produce has been found to contain the most and least residues.