The organic food industry is divided over its potential to take a significant share of the overall food manufacturing and retailing industry. While both exhibitors and visitors flocked to Biofach last week ­ evidence that the sector is flourishing ­ there are some who do not think its overall share will exceed 5% of the total food output. Paul Söbekke, md of Söbekke, a manufacturer of organic dairy products, said the sector would continue to grow in Germany. "Food here is generally cheap, with discounters such as Aldi and Lidl making consumers less concerned about spending the premium on organic products." But he stressed the current explosive growth rate of organics was unsustainable. Germany is considered a mature' organic market with 416,000 sq ha organically certified land. This is expected to increase by more than 20% over the next year. "The organic sector will never be more than 5% of Germany ­ and Europe's ­ total food market," he stressed. His views were backed by other German and Scandinavian producers, who admitted that in countries where own label ranges were dominant, there was a chance organic foods could eventually take up 20% of shelf space. "The UK multiples have driven organic growth through own label ranges," said one. But others are convinced the sector will continue to boom. Noel McDonald of Windmill Foods, which distributes a range of 1,200 branded organic products, said there would be no let-up as long as supermarket interest continued. "At the moment, 3% of the UK market is organic ­ and that will continue," he said. The Soil Association said at the show it would continue to lobby UK Government to increase organic land conversion. {{NEWS }}