Duchy Dominican Republic bananas Waitrose

Organic produce is seeing a surge in interest following the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown according to new figures from Waitrose.

According to the retailer, its organic food sales increased 13 per cent during lockdown, while searches for its Organic Duchy range doubled during the same period.

In recent months sales of organic vegetables increased by 23 per cent at Waitrose compared to the same time last year, with 52 bags of organic carrots, 34 blueberry punnets and 39 bags of bananas sold every hour.

The news comes as Waitrose announced the launch of a new organic British blueberry range, the first time a UK supermarket has been able to offer the organic crop in commercial quantities from a British farm.

The Waitrose Duchy Organic blueberries have been grown in Herefordshire by a longstanding Waitrose supplier, who has supplied fruit to Waitrose for over 25 years.

Rob Hues, Waitrose agriculture manager says: 'For many the time at home has meant more time to prepare home-cooked meals and with that an increased awareness of where and how food comes to our kitchen tables.

“Provenance, animal welfare, taste and value have never mattered more to our shoppers and we see this increased interest only continuing.'

Recent Waitrose polling showed that environmental and ethical concerns have not faded away during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over half of respondents want retailers to show more information about ethical practices on packaging, according to the survey.

Three quarters of respondents also said they wanted to see more British sourcing, and over 44 per cent of people now actively seek out products with less packaging when shopping online.

Waitrose was the first UK supermarket to sell organic products in 1983 and its Waitrose Duchy Organic range has grown to become the UK’s largest own-label organic food and drink brand with 24 per cent of the current UK market share.