UK – 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 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 survey, carried out by leading organic livestock marketing group Graig Producers, 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 beef sales showed an increase of 18% in 2010 compared with the previous year , despite a small drop in the overall organic market. 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.