This time the soil association had the opportunity to tell good news on organic sales and con-sumption in the UK.

Sales of organic food and drink products have bounced back, rising by 4% last year at a time of tumbling food prices and spending.

Shoppers spent an extra £1.4m a week on organic products and the organic market exceeded £1.86bn – bringing sales levels back to the levels of 2009 – according to a report by the Soil association the body of organic industry and trade 

Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables were the most popular organic purchases. More than a quarter of spending on organic products (27.9%) is in the diary aisles, with yoghurt sales increasing by 13,% and organic milk by 2,9%– in contrast to the 3% contraction of the non-organic dairy market.

Sales of organic eggs and poultry were up 15.8% and 8.2%, while non-organic sales dipped by 6.2% and 3.3% respectively.

The association hailed the figures as representing “significant growth” in a year when food prices were down 1.9% and food spending was down 1.1%. It said that over 83% of UK households purchased organicproducts in 2014.

The Soil Association said feedback from retailers indicated that shoppers were becoming more health conscious and – following the horsemeat scandal – were seeking guarantees about food quality and ethical sourcing. Even so, sales of organic red meat and sausages fell by 6.1%.

70% of the organic sales were done by multiple retailers, 11,6% by box schemes and online sales, 3 % catering and 15,4% other independent retail.