Organic food no longer means just tough whole-grain products. The movement has burst out of the narrow milieu it originated from, and now products are available that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
For decades organic food had the image of whole-grain muesli, rubbery tofu and tasteless vegetarian cutlets, but times are fast changing.
In the larger towns and cities of Europe today, you will find organic ice cream and free-range hot dog vendors.
Almost every food product is now available as organic, says Peter Roehrig of the German association of ecological food. You will find sparkling wine and pre-prepared pizza on offer.
There are consumers prepared to pay for organically grown produce, as is shown by the steadily rising turnover, up to almost 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in Germany and 1.2 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) in Britain last year.
These days people demand variety, says Patrizia Weinzierl of the Berlin bakery BioBackhaus that specializes in baking with organically grown ingredients.
The chain, founded in 1978, now offers cakes, cookies and Black Forest Gateau, where the shelves were full of whole-wheat bread and little else at one time.
The wares on display are similar to those in a standard bakery, only the prices are around two euros higher per item.
The difference lies in the ingredients. Pesticides were not used when they were grown, and the finished product also contains no added preservatives or colorings.
The Cadillac ice cream suppliers in Templin near Berlin have a similar ethos. As producers of organic ice cream, they are now delivering their wares to up market Berlin ice cream vendors.
We use only fresh organically grown fruit and organic dairy products, says manager Olaf Koeller. The current bestseller is wild strawberry.
Koeller has extended his range not only to the health and environmentally conscious but also to those who cannot take normal dairy products due to health reasons.
One of the popular items in his range is sugar-free ice cream. All his products are marked with labels clearly listing the ingredients.
Some of the traditional sausage stands in Berlin have also gone organic.
They offer organic meatballs, organic wieners and organic hotdogs, enlivened of course with organic mayonnaise and organic ketchup and, to wash it down, there is always organically brewed beer.
(Source: IANS from DPA)