Fancy a pint? After years of poor sales organic milk is staging a comeback… and it turns out it IS better for you after all

The humble pint of the white stuff is leading a return to favour for organic food with sales of organic whole milk up an impressive 40% in the last year

There was a time back in the Noughties when no self-respecting middle class household would allow anything but the very finest organic produce grace their (Schreiber) kitchen shelves and the fridge would be bursting with lashings and lashings of organic milk fresh from the local farmers’ market. Nay, freshly squeezed from a very obliging cow that you probably knew the name of.

Said respectable household would then take much delight in trilling ‘it’s organic, darhling’ at any given opportunity because, well, it was the thing to do.

Fast-forward a few years and one double-dip recession later and it turns out we’ve all taken to shopping at Lidl and organic food is the last thing on our minds (not to mention our wallets!).

But like all good trends (apart from tie-dye. We definitely don’t like tie-dye) organic produce is back in vogue after four years stuck in the doldrums with dwindling sales.

Leading the comeback is organic whole milk, sales of which were up 40% in 2013, according to Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco, followed hot-on-the-heels by semi-skimmed milk, whose sales rose 25%.

Even better, it turns out that after years of thinking organic food was a healthy option but not actually knowing why, scientific research now suggests that organic milk is actually better for you than a pint of regular.

In a study published by experts from Newcastle University in January it was claimed that levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (‘healthy fats’) are up to 60% higher in organic milk.

Now for the science part: the two-year study found that overall fat content was actually similar in all brands of milk, but levels of alpha-linolenic acid, which is thought to benefit the heart, were 57% higher in organic brands.

Levels of conjugated linolenic acid, believed to help prevent eczema in children, were a third higher in organic milk.

Tesco also notes a significant rise in sales of other organic produce, including cheese (45%), lemons (10%) and bananas, which are up an impressive 60% on the previous year.

It’s thought the beginnings of an economic recovery and incidents like the horsemeat scandal have contributed to the perky sales, as some consumers once again have a little more money to spend on ‘posh’ food and are paying more attention to the origins of the food they are buying.

Right then, where’s that farmers’ market…

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