UK sales of organic food slumped by 12.9% in the last year as falling consumer demand and the toughest trading environment for 20 years took their toll.
The hardest-hit organic products were fruit, vegetables, meat and bread, which have the biggest price differential with their non-organic equivalents.
A report by the Soil Association showed that overall organic sales dropped from a high of £2.1b in 2001 to £1.84b last year.
Organic beef sales plummeted 30%, while lamb dropped 10%, and production of organic chickens fell 20%, despite the efforts of chefs like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to highlight animal welfare, the Guardian said.
But the picture appears better for 2010, with the Soil Association reporting small market expansion of between 2% and 5% in 2010.
Last year a Food Standards Agency study reported that there was "no important differences in the nutrition content, or any additional health benefits, of organic food when compared with conventionally produced food."
By Neil Gerrard
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