Nearly one in three now eats organic products

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Indy Lifestyle Online

More than one person in four now eats some organic food, although higher prices are still dissuading many customers, according to a survey published today.

More than one person in four now eats some organic food, although higher prices are still dissuading many customers, according to a survey published today.

Organic food is seen as healthier, safer and tastier in the light of the BSE crisis and fears over genetically modified ingredients.

The survey of 2,000 people for Health Which? magazine, published by the Consumers' Association, found that 29 per cent of people now replace some of their staple food with organic alternatives.

Fruit and vegetables are the most popular organic purchase, with 18 per cent of those questioned saying they sometimes buy them. One in 10 people occasionally buys organic meat, dairy products and bread, the survey found.

Of those who did opt for organic alternatives, 60 per cent gave health as their main reason, while half said they were attracted by the lack of pesticides in such products.

Just under half (46 per cent) thought organic food contained more vitamins and minerals, while 9 per cent were worried about genetic modification, and 6 per cent by the link between BSE, mad cow disease, and its human form, Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (CJD).

More than a quarter - 29 per cent - thought that organic alternatives simply tasted better.

The higher price of organic food was the main reason for customers sticking to other products; 45 per cent were put off by the cost.

Supermarkets insist that they do not mark up prices on organic foods to make extra profits, saying the higher cost is because farming methods are more expensive.

Mary Weston, co-ordinator of the Organic Lifestock Marketing Co-operative said: "Availability is quite low and it does cost more to grow and farm things organically. But demand is shooting up, and while it may take a long time, if customers stick with it prices will come down."

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