Celebrity chefs such as Marco Pierre White may castigate organic food as the preserve of the “smug”, over-privileged few, but key organic vegetable lines are showing good growth.

Value sales of organic onions have increased 15.5% to £6.5m over the past year, while parsnip sales are up a whopping 72.8%, to £712,000 [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 5 August].

These increases have been driven largely by greater penetration, with 11.1% more households buying organic onions this year and 39.6% more buying organic parsnips.

Vegetable supplier Produce World said the figures suggested more consumers were recognising the benefits of switching to organic for their core vegetable purchases.

“There is also evidence that the demand for organics has withstood the initial impact of the recession and consumers have remained loyal,” added director of agriculture Andrew Burgess.

The Soil Association has declared this month ‘Organic September’ and is aiming for a 10% sales uplift during the period.

In the Mail on Sunday two weeks ago, White described organic consumers as the “smug organic mob”.