In the last year UK demand for organic fruit has grown by eight per cent across the market.
Sales at Tesco are more than twice that, growing by more than 18 per cent in the same time period.
Among the most popular organic fruit items at Tesco have been:
Soft fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries – demand up 34 per cent in the last year
Bananas – up 27 per cent
Citrus fruit – up 17 per cent
Mangos and other exotic fruit – up 8 per cent
Apples and pears –up 8 per cent
Tesco fruit commercial manager Gareth Wilcock said:
“We strongly believe that great quality, organic produce should be an affordable option for families.
“The revival of organic foods has been gathering pace over the last few years, with keener prices and better availability both playing a major part in that.
“We have been working hard to get quality, organic produce into stores as quickly as possible, to provide extra days of freshness for customers.
“Smaller snacking pack sizes for several key organic berry fruit lines, has also helped with portion control and cutting down on potential food waste.”
Tesco’s main UK organic fruit supplier/grower is Organic Farm Foods, based near Evesham in Worcestershire, who supply a wide variety of fruit including apples, pears, grapes, watermelons, kiwi and mango.
Their managing director Adam Wakeley also gave some insight into the rising demand for organic fruit and how they are making sure they stay ahead of this trend.
He said: “Traditionally the two biggest challenges for organic produce have been price and availability and we have been working closely with Tesco and our growers around the world to improve availability as we move between seasons.
“We are particularly focusing on bridging gaps in supply to ensure customers can receive a consistent year round offer.”
During the recent economic downturn, organic purchases were among the first food items to be ditched as people sought to save money on their weekly shop.
As a result, The Organic Trade Board (OTB), a non-profit organisation of more than 120 food producers and retailers, including Tesco, was formed in 2008 to promote the benefits of organic food.
Paul Moore, Chair of Organic Trade Board said: “We are delighted to see Tesco enjoying growth in organic fruit sales.
“Nearly two thirds of organic consumers have entered the market since 2009 and are young, highly motivated and engaged with food.
“Our research shows motivation around health and the environment underpins the interest in organic foods with over 45 per cent of existing consumers expecting to buy more organic in the next 12 months.”