Growth in the organic dairy sector accelerated over the past couple of months, despite the recession, according to new figures.

The TNS data showed that retail sales of organic milk increased by 4.5% and 10.5% during the past two four-weekly periods. In total, that meant consumers had bought more than 2m extra organic pints compared with this time last year.

“These figures are very encouraging, and are further evidence of the resilience of the organic milk market,” said Richard Hampton, sales and marketing director for the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative.

“However, we can’t be complacent, and with retail promotions supporting some of this new growth and our marketing investment about to launch, we hope to sustain this encouraging trend.”

Last week Tesco announced that sales of its organic, premium and ethical food ranges had increased, largely on the back of successful promotional campaigns, such as “buy one get any other free”.

Since last November, sales of organic produce in Tesco stores were up 52%, while there was 3% growth in its “Finest” range of fish, meat and poultry foods. Fairtrade produce was up 15%. Organic medium cheddar was among the most popular products with sales up 70%.

“It’s definitely an important time to build on this most recent market performance,” Mr Hampton added. He said the dairy farmer co-operative was about to launch a new organic milk marketing campaign, incorporating TV and print advertising and PR supported by a new microsite and additional online activity.

* For a Farmers Weekly view on the organic market see Phil Clarke’s Business Blog

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