Organic bakery producers have come forward with stories of sales growth in response to the Organic Market Report, which revealed that sales of organic bread and bakery items had plummeted during the recession.

The report, published by the Soil Association, announced that sales in the category one of the hardest-hit were down 39.8% during 2009. Organic biscuit sales fell by 19%.

However, Honeyrose Bakery, which supplies Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Caffè Nero among others, said sales of its organic cakes saw a 78% increase during the first quarter of 2010 compared to 2009. Managing director and founder Lise Madsen said the firm had gained new business in the past six months, including new lines in Sainsbury’s. She said the firm believes that when consumers’ spending power returns, companies that have "stuck to quality over taking easy shortcuts" would be rewarded.

Chantelle Ludski, founder and CEO of sandwich and snack supplier fresh!naturally organic, and member of the Organic Trade Board committee, said the firm’s pie and quiche sales had gone up over the period. "It’s all about the way the organic message is put across," she said, referring to how the market can turn itself around. "You cannot just market a product purely on the fact it is organic. It needs to be a good product, and fairly priced." She added that consumers need to be told why it’s good to buy organic, without being bombarded with too many different messages.

Judges Bakery co-founder Jo Fairley said sales of organic bread at her Hastings bakery were also up "and growing". Echoing Ludski’s commments, she said: "Organic products need to be as good as, or preferably better than, the non-organic version."

Michael Bell, MD, Bells of Lazonby added that there have been a lot of fairly ordinary organic products in the past, but he said organic customers don’t just want a product with organic ingredients it has to offer them something else as well.