According to the Dublin-based research company Research and Markets, the total organic food and drink market in the UK increased in value at retail level by 10.1% in 2005.

Vegetables and fruit have increased their share of the organic sector, while dairy and bakery products have retained steady shares, Research and Markets stated in its latest report Organic Food Market Assessment 2006. According to the report, the market share represented by meat (and, to a much smaller extent, fish) has also grown, as has that accounted for by wines, fruit juices and hot beverages. However, baby foods and the range of other multi-ingredient items have lost share.

The overall market is now growing at a stable rate of around 10% per year, after much more substantial annual growth between 1996/1997 and 2000/2001.

According to Research and Markets, the total area of organically managed land in the UK peaked in 2001/2002 and 2002/2003, and steadied at a marginally lower level in 2003/2004 and 2004/2005. More than 50% of organic land is in Scotland, with less than 40% in England and the remainder in Wales and Northern Ireland.

The organic food and drink market is forecast to grow at a slowing rate in the future, although still at an annual growth rate exceeding that for non-organic foods for most of the period to 2009, Research and Markets said. However, the report did not predict any substantial increase in the numbers of heavy consumers of organic produce. The majority still buy only relatively small proportions of organic foods and drinks within their total grocery purchases.

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