The British organic carrot has been named as the millennial’s must-have

The organic market is booming, with sales topping £2.2bn in its sixth consecutive year of growth, according to Soil Association’s recently launched 2018 Organic Market Report

Crushed carrot salad with crispy spiced chickpeas and kefir dressing

 

Fresh Produce (fruit, vegetables & salads) is leading the way, holding a 24% share of the organic food and drink market and showing a year-on-year growth up 6.5%.

Indeed, 15.3% of all carrots sold by value in UK food and drink retailers (supermarkets) in 2017 were organic. The shoppers under 35, who had spent upwards of £3.1m on organic carrots to week ending 4th November (loyalty growth in 2017 up 3.6%).

The findings bring to the boil the long-simmering discussion over whether the younger generation are as passionate about traditional British organic produce as they are about exotic alternatives, which soared in popularity throughout 2017.

Clare McDermott, Business Development Director from Soil Association Certification, the UK’s largest certifier of organic food comments:

Last year, millennials spent a higher proportion of their shop on organically grown carrots. The price gap between organic and conventional has widened slightly as the market for conventionally grown carrots has become more competitive. We can see loyalty to organic has decreased slightly overall, which is what we might expect, but millennial shoppers have gone against this expectation which shows they have a good value perception of organic carrots.

*Even with non-organic carrots getting cheaper in store, an ever-increasing number of millennial shoppers are showing that they are prepared to pay more as they recognise the value and importance of making an organic choice when it comes to their favourite veg.

Every time we choose organic we are choosing food as it should be. Choosing organic means that you are supporting farming practices with a more traceable production process and you’ll always know what’s in your food as well as moving the UK towards a more sustainable food system which is great for ourselves and the land.”

Mark Cheadle from R.B. Organic, believes there are several reasons why the organic carrot is becoming the must-have millennial vegetable:

There are three key reasons organic carrots are having a moment. Buying homegrown vegetables, grown the traditional way, is important, so too is social credibility, with the under 35s wanting to do good by buying organic and ‘peacocking’ where the buyer wants to share their knowledge so they can tell their friends and work colleagues.

This organic Millennial shopper has inherited knowledge about what vegetables are meant to be like and have a passion to publicise their decisions to buy organic. Organic is seen by them as nature’s best of the best.

Soil Association have been celebrating the popularity of organic fresh produce by launching the Organic Food Finder – an online tool to help people find their local supplier of fresh, Soil Association-certified organic fresh produce, be that via a box scheme, a local farmers’ market or direct from the farm gate. In addition they have curated a selection of wonderful carrot recipes including Carrot, Chickpea & Kefir Salad, (see below) Roast Carrots with Honey & Fennel and Carrot Top Salsa Verde.

Seven things you didn’t know about carrots:
  1. The notion that eating carrots helps you see at night is a myth first circulated during World War II to explain why RAF fighter pilots had more success on night time battles, in order to disguise advances in radar technology
  2. Carrots come in many colours, from purple to yellow, but the orange carrot is believed to have come to popularity in the Netherlands during the 17th Century, when Dutch growers cultivated them as a tribute to William of Orange
  3. Research conducted by the University of Newcastle showed that there are up to 69% more antioxidants in organically grown crops when compared to crops grown using non-organic methods
  4. Organic carrots that have the Soil Association organic symbol, have been produced to the highest standards; with fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives, and are grown in a more sustainably managed way meaning more wildlife
  5. Organic carrots are easily accessible and can be picked up from supermarkets, online, from independent shops and farmer’s markets across the country
  6. There is a virtual World Carrot Museum! www.carrotmuseum.co.uk
  7. If everyone who currently buys carrots switched to organic, there would be 50% more wildlife and 30% more species of wildlife on the farms used to produce the carrots – that’s more birds, bees, butterflies, beetles, bats and wildflowers

^Source: Nielsen Scantrack Total Coverage Food & Drink (supermarkets & convenience stores) 52 weeks ending 30 December 2017.

Why Organic?

Choosing organic means choosing food as it should be. Whatever you’re buying, when you choose organic, you choose products that have been produced to the highest standards. Organic food must be certified by law, so you can be assured that the product and ingredients come from verified sources. Soil Association Certification certify over 70% of organic food in the UK, and all organic businesses are inspected at least once a year. It is the most rigorous of any independent food standard audit process, so the organic label is the best way of assuring that the food you eat has been produced to a standard you can trust. Organic always means fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives, some of the highest standards of animal welfare and no GM ingredients.

About the Soil Association:

Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.

Soil Association Certification is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soil Association which certifies over 70% of all organic products sold in the UK. Certifying organic food and farming since 1973, and more recently, organic textiles, health and beauty products, the team has built up extensive practical experience and provides unrivalled support before, during and after certification. It also audits other schemes within catering and forestry, including the Food for Life Served Here, and the FSC and PEFC forestry standards internationally, delivering assurances of quality and provenance that industry and consumers can trust.

To find out more visit www.soilassociation.org

Organic Carrot Salad with Crispy Spiced Chickpeas & Kefir Dressing

Incorporate organic into your everyday, with the help of this delicious recipe.

Serves 2, prep 15 mins, cook 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 40g flaked almonds
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • Light olive oil
  • 800g carrots
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ red onion
  • 15g mint
  • 30g parsley
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50g watercress
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 70ml kefir
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Toast the almonds on a roasting tray for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden in colour. Be careful not to burn them. Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Tip them into the clean tea towel and pat them as dry as you can.
  2. Remove the almonds, throw them with a dash of oil and a pinch of salt. Keep  to one side. Place the chickpeas in the roasting tray with 2 tablespoons of oil and season well with salt and pepper. Mix well and spread them out so they are one layer deep.
  3. Peel the carrots and cut into equal sized angled wedges, about 2cm by 5cm. Zest and juice the lemon.
  4. Pop the carrots into another baking tray. Add half of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water and enough oil to generously coat the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and tightly cover the tray with foil. Place the chickpeas on the top oven shelf and the carrots on the shelf below.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes. Giving the chickpeas a turn twice during cooking. They should be a golden nutty brown. Remove early if they look like burning. Prepare the rest of the veg by peeling and very finely slicing half of the red onion. Wash the mint and parsley, shake them dry.
  6. Pick the leaves off both and finely chop them separately. Peel and finely chop or crush 1 garlic clove. Wash and dry the watercress. Make the dressing by whisking the mustard and half the garlic with the kefir. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the mint.
  7. Remove the carrots and chickpeas from the oven. Remove the foil from the carrots. Mix in the honey and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes until tender. Add the cumin, paprika and half the chopped parsley to the chickpeas. Mix well and leave to cool slightly.
  8. When the carrots are ready, give them a rough bash with a wooden spoon or potato masher. You want to lightly smash them into coarse pieces. Do this in the roasting tray so as they soak up the lemony oil.
  9. Mix the warm crushed carrots with the spiced chickpeas, red onion and watercress. Divide it equally between 2 plates. Artfully spoon the dressing across the salad. Scatter over the almonds, remaining parsley and a little lemon zest.
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