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Pandemic boosts demand for organic food in Switzerland - study

ZURICH, March 1 (Reuters) - Retail sales of organic foods in Switzerland rose 17% to 3.24 billion Swiss francs ($3.54 billion) in 2020, reaching a market share of around 11% as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted demand, a report by the Federal Office for Agriculture showed on Tuesday.

Just over a third of people polled for the “organic barometer” said their shopping habits changed during the pandemic, with almost 5% buying more organic foods due to COVID-19, the authors of the study wrote.

Fresh vegetables and potatoes were the best-selling items in the organic food category, followed by milk and dairy products as well as cereal and bakery products, according to the report.

“The market for organic foods is an important growth market, growing dynamically by 9% on average each year between 2016 and 2020,” the authors said in the report, adding organic baby food outperformed at 20% per year.

Sales of non-organic foods were only up by 2.4% per year during that period.

The authors of the report said it was uncertain whether consumption patterns adopted during the pandemic were here to stay.

Organic foods should keep growing, but more slowly, the authors said, noting additional potential if prices for organic foods came down or if more organic options were offered to consumers at out-of-home venues.

A recent study by money.co.uk here found Switzerland, with its population of around 8.6 million, was the most expensive country in the world for groceries, with a weekly shop costing $48.16, ahead of South Korea at $35.78.

$1 = 0.9170 Swiss francs Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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