UK organics sales will top £1bn this year, according to Simon Skeldon of Taylor-Nelson Sofres. Speaking at the launch of the Soil Association's Organic Food and Farming Report 2000, of which he was one of the authors, Skeldon said sales were up 55% in 1999/2000 to £605m and simple mathematics indicated sales would top £1bn for the following year. Taking a tilt at the supermarkets who are trying to compete on price in the organics sector, Skeldon added: "Growth was incredibly strong, in excess of 55%, against 1.5% for the market as a whole. This does not look like a market where prices are too high." Another of the report's authors, Soil Association agriculture development director Simon Brenman, said the increase in the market had been driven by the growth of the range of organic products now available, rather than just a greater volume of sales of products formerly available. But he also pointed out that for the fourth year in succession the market had grown faster than UK production of organics. Lizzie Vann, founder of the report's sponsor Organix Brands, warned that the sector could become a victim of its own success. She said: "I am concerned by the rush into the market by food companies­ it is difficult to promote organics if you have feet in both camps." She warned that some companies did not support the principles underpinning the organic movement, adding: "In 2000 I saw some less than wholesome ingredients ­ they were organic ­ but I would not use them in baby food." Soil Association director Patrick Holden said the proliferation of certification bodies created a conflict of interest. He said: "We don't want a certification market place. A price war will lead to a dilution of quality." {{NEWS }}