Sainsbury's has hailed its two-week old experiment ranging organic with conventional lines a success.

Russell Crowe, head of fresh produce, said the retailer's move to range organic fruit and veg alongside conventionally-grown equivalent had prompted a double-digit sales uplift. He declined to give detailed figures but said results were in-line with expectations.

"It has gone down well with consumers, although a couple of stores haven't managed to implement the changes because of refits. The double-digit growth is bang on where we thought sales would be."

With fresh produce aisles now merchandised with summer produce for the warmer months, Crowe said it was no surprise that salads and peaches were selling well. "You'd expect sales of soft fruit to be up with the weather we've had recently, but top fruit sales are also right up there."

Shoppers were finding it easier to find Sainsbury's 160 organic fruit and veg lines, said Crowe, adding: "Only the die-hard organic customer base is not so happy about it."

Success was down to broadening the appeal of organic produce by reaching more shoppers, he said. "It removes the myth that organic produce is more expensive than conventional as consumers can compare prices."

For instance, Sainsbury's sells a 230g box of organic cherry tomatoes for 99p, or 250g of conventional tomatoes for the same price.

Crowe refused to give details about the targets that had been set for the move. "There is a cost involved in making changes, but we're looking at it as an investment to improve sales. In Germany and the Netherlands, organic penetration is 12% of households, which is a long way ahead of where we are."

Sainsbury's was also working to develop its range of locally grown and British organic produce, he said: "We've been working with our supply base to target growth in these areas. It's all about planning."