Organic groups say retailers are slacking on organics after The Grocer 33 mystery shoppers highlighted a north-south divide in availability this week. Out of stocks were also rife when the shoppers visited eight stores for 10 everyday organic lines. Tesco and Sainsbury acquitted themselves with two out of stocks, while Safeway in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, turned in the worst performance, with only two items available. Milk was available only in two stores, and bread in five. None had beef mince on sale. A Soil Association spokeswoman said: "Retailers follow customer demands but must educate and promote too." Food and Drink Federation organic co-ordinator Dominic Dyer said: "There is an issue on organic availability in the north where supermarkets just stock lines in affluent areas." But SimplyOrganic marketing director Simon Grant said there was huge demand in home shopping for organics in the north: "We do best in the north. Demand is disproportionate because supermarkets sometimes carry only 10 lines." He said supermarkets struggle with organic operational issues ­ shorter shelf lives and small quantities: "I think the supermarkets would rather organic went away." l See p8 ­ Organics, and p26, The Grocer 33+. {{NEWS }}