Waitrose has reported a resurgence in organic food sales in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and the GM debate.

Speaking at the opening of Waitrose’s Greenwich branch on Thursday, MD Mark Price said that after flatlining for years, organic food sales were up 6.6% in the latest quarter.

He attributed its renewed popularity to concern about traceability and authenticity. “I think it’s in reaction to GM, Horsegate and the neonicotinoids debate,” said Price. “That has made people buy into organic again,”

However, more needed to be done to make people understand organic food, he said. “The challenge is now to make people understand what organic really means. It’s what my grandmother used to call food - not fed on GM, no pesticides.”

Organic food sales have fallen consistently since the recession hit in 2008. In 2011/2012, sales slumped 8% to £773.7m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 13 May 2012].