- Published: 19 September 2011
Expensive and elitist. That’s a perception which has been recently attached to organic food in some quarters. However, a new survey of supermarket prices adds to the evidence that this is not the case.
The Graig Producers Price Survey, which looked at organic beef and lamb prices at Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose, showed that in all cases organic beef, and in two of the three supermarkets, organic lamb, cost less than the own-brand premium meat ranges. For some cuts, the organic version was up to 30% cheaper than a non-organic equivalent. Overall, organic beef was cheaper than premium brands by an average of 10%, and in two of the three supermarkets organic lamb was 1% cheaper.
The Graig Producers Price Survey excluded special offers and compared the price per kg on comparative cuts of organic meat and premium or standard ranges in the three supermarkets.
“When you consider the many benefits of organic food, not only to us, but to the animals and the environment, these results emphasise what excellent overall value for money organic red meat currently offers” said Bob Kennard, MD of Graig Producers.
Organic red meat sales increased by 11% in both value and volume terms in the year to 15 May. This was driven by a 31% increase in volume sales of organic beef, as households bought 19% less organic lamb and 27% less organic pork. Supermarkets are now expecting to see a small overall increase for the organic market in 2011 or at worst a levelling out of sales.
As for the elitism accusation, according to the latest Organic Market Report from the Soil Association, organic products continue to attract shoppers from across the social spectrum, with the more disadvantaged socio-economic groups accounting for a third of spending.
“If people are going to eat less meat, then it surely makes sense to eat the best quality meat, which also benefits the environment, and ensures high animal welfare standards. Organic red meat enables consumers to do all this at reasonable cost” said Bob Kennard.
Graig Producers is a collaborative livestock producer group working with several hundred sheep and beef farmers throughout the UK to supply the supermarkets with organic beef and lamb. It acts as a hub in the production wheel, helping to secure a market for its members and identify new markets, add value and secure predictable prices. Economies of scale results in cost savings for its members which are passed on to the consumer.
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Note to editors
Graig Producers is a collaborative marketing group for organic livestock farmers. It was established in the early 1990’s and since then has grown to some 400 farmer members who work together to market their livestock, primarily through the supermarkets. It is committed to securing the future of family-run farms with the associated socio-economic benefits.
The Graig Producers Price Survey was carried out on 13th April, using data from supermarket websites. Prices of cuts for organic and non-organic ranges were recorded and compared. Organic beef was cheaper than the premium own-label non-organic equivalents on average by between 1% and 26%, depending on the supermarket. Organic lamb was 1.9% and 0.1% cheaper than non-organic equivalents in two supermarkets, and 2% more expensive in one multiple retailer.
Graig Producers, Dolau, Llandrindod Wells, Powys LD1 5TL
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