Independent retailers could grow their sales by nearly £200m by investing in organic produce.

That was the advice from Clare McDermott, Soil Association business development director, who told Retail Express sales of organic food and drink grow in the winter ahead of Christmas and New Year’s health kicks.

“The biggest sales come from London and South East England but we've carried out research in Manchester, London and Scotland and consumer’s attitudes to health and traceability is the same all over.

“There’s even more opportunity for retailers outside the South as there isn’t as much competition,” she said.

Supermarket sales currently account for 68.2% of organic sales, with 15.6% going through independent retailers. By increasing share to 25%, retailers could increase their takings from £327m to £525m.

“Organic is particularly popular with younger shoppers and empty nesters and the opportunity is growing for independent retailers,” McDermott said.

Organic food is defined by having no artificial colour & preservatives, routine use of antibiotics or GM ingrdients and use fewer pesticides. Seventy per cent of organic food produced is stamped by the Soil Association.