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Health: Worried shoppers turn to organic food

Food scares and the BSE crisis have helped the market for organic food to double in Britain in the last two years, a new report says today.

No longer associated with vegetarians and "committed activists", three quarters of all shoppers are "sympathetic" to the idea of buying organic food, although young people without children are the most likely to buy them, said the report from retail analysts Mintel.

Sales of organic meat in particular have gone up from pounds 12m in 1994 to pounds 26m last year. Fruit and vegetables are still the biggest organic sellers, worth pounds 124m a year and making up more than 60 per cent of the market.

Overall, including dairy products, flour, cereals, oils, preserves, tea and coffee, the market in the UK is worth pounds 260m. Nearly three-quarters of the produce is imported.Mintel said the market looked set to almost double again before 2001. -