Organic food sales soar

More and more Austrians are opting for foodstuff produced in an eco-friendly way, according to new figures.The Austrian agricultural branch authority Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) announced today (Tues) that 116,280 tons of organic products were sold in specialised and regular supermarkets across the country in 2010.AMA explained this is a 21.5 per cent improvement compared to 2009, adding that organic bread sales were not regarded by the study which checked purchase figures for all other kinds of eco-friendly products. The organisation pointed out that this year on year increase was significantly stronger than growth rates recorded in the past few years.A survey conducted by the authority shows one in four shoppers choosing organic products do so due because they think they taste better. A majority of 60 per cent said they considered higher prices for organic foodstuff compared to other products as justified.News that sales of organic food are on the rise comes on the heels of reports that agricultural harvest volumes decreased by 6.5 per cent year on year to around 4.5 million tons in 2010 due to extreme weather conditions.Severe heatwaves and devastating thunderstorms meant that rye harvest rates dropped by 12 per cent year on year to 161,000 tons, while wheat farmers managed to keep their annual cultivation rate at a steady level of 1.5 million tons.The price of bread and other products is expected to increase in the coming months due to last yearÂ’s disappointing harvest output.