Organics can 'continue to grow'

Ongoing economic spasms will not halt the growth in ethical consumerism - including demand for organic products - according to a new report.

The Co-operative Bank survey flies in the face of findings by Mintel that almost half of all organic shoppers would cut back on organic food or give it up (Grower, 5 December).

Dick Parkhouse, the bank's managing director of retail, said spending on ethical food including organic products rose 14 per cent to £5.8bn last year.

"Of course the state of the economy will affect consumer spending," he said. "But this report shows that bold Government action can stimulate markets.

"For some time we've argued that only through legislation will we secure the changes to deliver mass-market, low-carbon lifestyles.

"Government intervention promoting energy efficient-products is underpinning these markets and ensuring they continue to grow."

The Co-op found that last year on average every household in the UK spent £707 "in line with their ethical values". This was up by nearly £80 on the year before.

He said in spite of the downturn the ethical market was worth over £35bn, up 15 per cent in a year. However, this compared with a total consumer spend of over £600bn.

Last week Richard Perks, Mintel director of finance and retail, said that after five years of impressive growth, attitudes were changing and sales were set to slacken off.


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