The UK's organic food and drink sector is set for impressive growth in the next few years, according to a new study from Datamonitor.

By 2007, the report estimates, Britons will spend £1.6 billion ($2.7bn; €2.3bn) on organic fare -- around 75% more than their outlay last year. The number of 'loyal' buyers will surge from 2.4 million to 11.4m over the same period, as concerns mount over the safety of regular food. Particularly fast growth is forecast for organic meat, spend on which will jump from £152m last year to an estimated £351m in 2007.

Britain's organic food industry is the second largest in Europe, though it is unlikely to overhaul Germany where in 2002 the market had already hit £2.1bn.

One barrier to acceptance, argues Datamonitor, is the high cost of organic produce. It believes lowering the price premium to between 10% and 20% above normal food and drink would be more acceptable to potential buyers.

To justify this mark-up, however, marketers should focus on the nutritional and health benefits of organic fare rather than on claims it has a superior taste. The latter argument, Datamonitor claims, has not been widely accepted by consumers.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff