Stat of the month: Organic takeoff - £2bn

UK retail sales of organic products, '06.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

That's up 20% on the previous year. Organic products are clearly big business. Today, middle-class parents feeding their kids on non-organic risk being ostracised. Organic went mainstream in 1983, when Waitrose introduced it to the supermarket shelf. With more than 1,300 organic lines, this chain still leads the pack, but Marks & Spencer is catching up, with 350, and even Sainsbury's and Tesco have joined in. It's hard to argue with the benefits, but more than half of organic produce sold in the UK today is imported. Think of the air miles. In Kenya alone, more than 15,000 people make a livelihood from organic farming. And there's another eco-conundrum: worry too much about air miles and these poor farmers could lose everything. To complicate matters, the new EU organic label allows for 5% non-organic contents, including up to 0.9% genetically modified organisms, prompting accusations from Greenpeace of 'laxness' and confusion among producers. So what's it to be? Organic, 'EUganic', locally grown, fair trade or good old factory-farmed, like Asda's infamous £2 chicken? The choice is dizzying enough to turn you green.

- Source: The Soil Association.

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