New consumer research launched by Bord Bia today has highlighted a return to growth in the retail value of organic food in Ireland for the first time since 2010.

The Bord Bia study, funded by the Department Agriculture, Food and the Marine, values annual retail sales of organic food at €99.1 million, up from €97 million last year, with almost 60% of consumers surveyed purchasing organic produce in the last six months.

Retail sales of organic food reached a record high of €106 million in 2010. There are currently 1,721 registered organic operators in Ireland and over 52,000 hectares of land is being used to produce it.

 The research shows that purchasing remains stable amongst core shoppers over the last six years and more people are buying into the category than before and that the main consumer is female, urban-living and ABC social demographics.

Benefits associated with organic food, according to the research, includes that it is free from chemicals and pesticides and therefore healthier, is good for nature and the environment and that it tastes better.

Some 73% of current purchasers claim that a ‘local organic’ product proposition would increase their interest in buying organic produce. It also found that 50% of all organic buyers agree that buying Irish organic food is very important to them.