David Shapley Marks and Spencer is aiming to become the most trusted retailer of organic products in the UK and is undertaking a major range expansion beyond the current 22 lines of fruit, 25 vegetables and 29 salad items. Increasing consumer demand for M&S organic bananas, cucumbers and strawberries, has convinced buyer Stuart Stubbins there are big opportunities for stone fruit, soft citrus and grapes, as well as prepared produce. The company is also giving out a clear message on pricing policy. Stubbins said: "Our organic produce will be sold with the same cash margin as the conventional equivalent." At an internal conference more than 70 suppliers were told the aim was to lift fresh produce share from its current 4% to 10%. The fresh produce organic market in the UK is valued at #300m and still expanding. "We have hardly scratched the surface with some products," said Stubbins. "Our aim is to become the most trusted retailer of organic produce in the UK, taking a leading position on eating quality, variety and choice." Lines have been identified where year-round availability can be achieved, along with others where it may be possible. The drive is supported by a new logo, starting to appear on packs, and a store refurb programme creating more shelf space. A trial at Milton Keynes, where organics were given stronger signage and greater shelf space, proved successful and the scheme has now been rolled out to eight other stores. The UK's organic market is one of the most advanced in Europe if not the world, said Simon Wright of the Organic Consultancy. "In the UK organic is better marketed and has higher penetration than elsewhere, owing to the early and effective engagement of supermarkets," he claimed. {{MARKET EDGE }}