French organic association Agence Bio has said that it expects sales of organic foods to continue to rise this year, despite the slowdown in the global economy.

Organic sales in France rose by 25% in 2008, increasing to EUR2.6bn (US$3.68bn), the latest figures from Agence Bio revealed.

A spokesperson for the body said that “increased availability” was a major factor driving growth.

“We do expect sales to continue their rise. However, this could be at a rate below that seen last year,” the spokesperson said.

In April, the Soil Association said it was upbeat about the future of organic food in the UK and said demand for organics would continue to grow this year.

Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, predicted “modest growth” in organic sales for 2009, while Helen Browning, the organisation’s food and farming director, forecast sales growth of 5%.

In 2008, organic sales inched up by 1.7% to over GBP2.1bn (US$3.45bn), the slowest rate of growth seen by the sector in recent years.