ORGANIC produce enjoyed bumper sales growth last year with the sector expected to be worth £2.9bn by the end of 2021.

According to Nielsen data, supermarket sales grew 12.5% over the year, and online and home-delivery sales leapt by 36.2%.

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Direct-to-consumer sales accounted for 25% of the total sold, as shoppers sought to understand better their food’s provenance and forged links with local producers.

The total growth translates to more than £50m spent on organic every week, the organic charity the Soil Association said in its annual market report.

Sales of organic eggs – which have grown for several years – were up 17.2%, while meat, fish and poultry sales grew 16.8%.

The Soil Association Certification’s Sophie Kirk said: “The unprecedented crisis of 2020 has brought immense challenges for organic farmers and the entire food supply chain.

“So, it’s heartening that in times of crisis, more people are supporting home – grown organic produce, with many British organic products such as eggs, cheese, carrots, beef and lamb benefitting from strong sales growth through supermarkets this year.

“Online organic sales through box schemes and home delivery services have seen stand-out growth.

Alongside this, many organic producers are selling direct to the public, playing to their key strengths of promoting British sourcing and sustainability.

“With the organic market growing faster than ever and expected to reach £2.9 billion by the end of 2021, there are opportunities for UK organic farmers looking to meet growing consumer demand for sustainable, British food and drink and Government support is available for organic farming through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

“The Government must continue to invest in farming systems that deliver for climate, nature and health in the transition to ELMs.”