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Organics - fad or the future?

Related tags Organic food Genetically modified organism

Organic food has been one of the biggest trends in the food sector in recent years. FoodNavigator is seeking your views on whether organics have staying power, or whether consumers will lose interest over time.

Organic Monitor valued the global organic market at over US$40bn (c€25.8 bn) in 2007.

In the UK alone, the Soil Association, a charity that certifies products as organic, is expecting a 10 per cent growth for sales of organic products this year, which it says is four to five times higher than sales growth for the general food market in a good year.

It was no so long ago that organic food was seen as a niche, catered to by small companies and start ups. Now all the major multinationals make some organic offering – and have acquired and poured money into many of the small start-up brands that were leading the curve.

But when does a trend stop becoming a trend and become a long-term shift in attitudes?

The European Commission recently kicked off a promotional campaign to inform consumers of the benefits of organic food and support those involved in the ever-growing organic market.

It focuses on increasing awareness of organic produce among young people to ensure a future market for organic, under its main slogan: "Organic farming: Good for nature, good for you."

An agriculture spokesperson for the stressed, however, that the Commission is not favouring organic as an alternative to conventional.

Given the weight behind the biotech industry, and the role that some anticipate for genetically modified foods in aiding food security, could organic ever become the norm?

What is more, organic food generally comes at a premium. Given the global economic down turn, consumers are saving pennies wherever they can. There are fears that their need to save money at the supermarket till will over-ride a preference for organic produce, especially if there is no discernible taste difference.

Some industry insiders have speculated that the growth rate could plateau as less committed organic-eaters switch back to conventional produce, while die-hard advocates find other ways to cut back.

What do you think?

Please send your comments of no more than 100 words to jess.halliday 'at' by 14th August, putting 'Organics - fad or future?' in the subject line.

We will publish a selection of the best responses, covering all angles of the debate, on Tuesday 19th August.

Please note that comments will be taken to be 'on the record', and the sender's name and affiliated company/organisation will be published.

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