UK supermarkets are most expensive organic retailers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Organic food

The leading food retailers in the UK are the most expensive places
to buy organic food, according to a new report from Dr Anna Ross of
the University of the West of England.

The leading food retailers in the UK are the most expensive places to buy organic food, according to a new report from Dr Anna Ross of the University of the West of England.

The report, Organic Food Prices 2002, claims that supermarkets are the most expensive of all organic food retailers and that they have the smallest range of fresh produce of all organic retailers.Ross' research showed that a basket of organic fresh vegetables bought at a farm shop was 63% more expensive in Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in the UK. Arch rival Sainsbury charged 59% more and Waitrose 38% more. The report advises shoppers to buy organic produce at farm shops, farmers' markets or through an organic box scheme.

The research was not welcomed by everyone, according to the UK newspaper The Independent on Sunday. It claimed that the UK's leading organic food promoter, the Soil Association, had decided not to publish the findings of the report in its quarterly magazine.

The paper claimed this was because the Soil Association did not agree with the findings of the report which could pressurise the major supermarket chains into reducing their prices and thus reducing the profits of organic suppliers.

"Our primary responsibility is to make the public aware of the consequences of a mantra of cheap food,"​ Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, told The Independent on Sunday. "If consumers want the organic movement to survive they must understand it is worth paying more for quality."​ The Soil Association's annual conference next week is due to debate the issue of food pricing and is expected to call for a charge in society's attitude to cheap food.

In 2001 organic retail sales grew 33% to £802 million in the UK. Ross' report says supermarkets have 80% of the sales.

Related topics: Suppliers

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