"While surplus food stocks rot in the open, thousands die of starvation and hunger. And as if this is not enough, the government has allowed the sale of foodgrains at a throw-away price to traders and merchants for export when people in the country are waiting endlessly for two square meals a day!" - Devinder Sharma
Market analysts nVision: "There is no apathy where this issue is concerned. If the price disparity between organic and non-organic food is allowed to narrow, we will witness nothing less than a stampede towards the organic food counter."
Shoppers 'flocking to organic products'
New research shows nearly half of all shoppers now buy organic foods - and the market is expected to grow even further. A survey of 1,000 adults found that more than four in 10 now opted for organic options either occasionally or regularly.
The growth in the market also signalled a reaction to food-related health scares, including BSE and foot-and-mouth, with six in 10 of those questioned citing health benefits as an incentive to buy organic meat, vegetables and other products.
Market analysts nVision, which carried out the research, predicted further growth in the sector.
Growth in the organic market had created opportunities for niche suppliers, but it was still the major supermarkets who were reaping most reward - almost 80% of those questioned said they bought their organic shopping at supermarkets, it said.
Managing director Christophe Jouan said: "There is now a real momentum behind the public mood surrounding food.
"Pretty much regardless of age, sex and social class, people are opting to add what they see as uncontaminated eggs, vegetables and meat to their shopping trolleys, and that's despite higher prices."
Mr Jouan said the pace of future growth might depend on the issue of cost and whether consumers are prepared to continue paying an often high premium for organic foods.
Those not currently buying organic produce said the price was their biggest reason.
"There is no apathy where this issue is concerned," added Mr Jouan. "If the price disparity between organic and non-organic food is allowed to narrow, we will witness nothing less than a stampede towards the organic food counter."