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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 03:53 GMT
British organic food sales soar
Organic radishes
Proponents say there are health benefits to organic food
Organic food sales in the UK have doubled since 2000 and are now worth 1.2bn a year, a report has suggested.

The sales increase is being driven by concerns on health, the environment and food safety, researchers Mintel say.

Although affluent shoppers bought roughly the same amount of produce last year, Mintel said sales were rising among lower-income consumers.

The survey of 1,519 people found 29% say they never buy organic. Mintel says sales will reach 2bn by 2010.

Fruit and vegetables had sales of 442m this year, making up 37% of the total market.

Market share

But the biggest rise is in meat and poultry sales - up nearly 150% between 2000 and 2005. An estimated 26% of consumers had bought organic meat in the last 12 months, up from 19% in 2001.

Senior market analyst Julie Sloan said: "Despite the fact that organic products account for little more than 1% of overall food and drink sales, there is no doubt that these products have joined the mainstream.

"Indeed, organic ranges are now available from all the major multiples, and the majority of households do buy organic food, even if some are only doing so occasionally."

The age group most likely to have bought organic food in the last year was 55 to 64-year-olds, with two-thirds opting organic at least once compared with 54% of all UK adults.

The Soil Association said growth in organic sales would be even more pronounced than Mintel had suggested.

"In our perception there is tremendous underlying interest in sustainable production and locally-sourced food which are rightly seen as offering potential solutions to current debates about protecting the environment, food security, animal welfare and other issues," Soil Association director Patrick Holden said.

See some of the produce available at London's Borough Market

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