Organic exec spies UK dairy resilience

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Organic dairy, Inflation, Milk

The organic dairy market remains resilient in the economic downturn amidst ongoing diversification drives, but more most be done to improve profitability in supply, says the new vice-chairman of a leading British cooperative.

With the appointment of Sam Taylor to the position of vice-chairman of organic cooperative OMSCo, the group claims that while it must avoid complacency at all costs, potential fears over consumers trading down from organic milk are not warranted.

In turning to future development within organic dairy though, Taylor told DairyReporter.com that the economic downturn had meant that ensuring milk price stability and supporting market growth were now increasingly important objectives.

‘Recession proof’

Last November, consumer analyst Mintel suggested that the US organic food and drink market was expected to slow alongside the economy on the back of shoppers’ concerns over cutting spending.

Mintel said that although the organic market had been widely regarded as somewhat resilient to tough economic times, it expected sales growth to continue slowing over the coming years.

However, from OMSCo’s point of view in the UK, consumer spending fears are not seen as a significant concern of the industry.

Steady sales

Taylor added that steady sales within the market showed a recognition amongst consumers that the premium price often paid for organic milk-derived products at retail level was generally still fairly low.

“With milk, your family can switch to organic for less than £1 per week, so it is not an obvious place to look to economise,”​ he stated. “Above all, we must ensure the consumer continues to see organic dairy as great value for money.”

The cooperative says that a strategy of both diversification and promoting organic dairy products had helped bring stability to the sector despite the current economic uncertainty, particularly for core products.

“According to the latest market data, liquid market sales are proving very resilient, with organic cheddar sales continuing to grow,”​ stated Taylor. “The yoghurt market remains week, but this is now a much smaller part of the overall organic dairy segment than it was a few years ago.”

In his new role as vice-chairman, Taylor, who already chairs the group’s membership committee, said he would work to support the cooperative’s executives in running the business and pushing ahead with its long-term strategies.

“We continue to invest in our technical support with our farmer members through our new Demonstration Farms Programme and a variety of other projects,”​ he stated.

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