A SOIL Association survey shows the Co-op Movement is the UK's number one retailer when it comes to sourcing organic British potatoes.
The organisation is trying to encourage supermarkets to buy British Ã¯Â¿Â½ and the all of the Co-op's organic potatoes were bought from UK producers, compared to 87 per cent in last year's survey.
Waitrose is the nearest with 97 per cent of their potatoes coming from this country.
The survey looks at eight foods including lamb, onions, pork, potatoes, apples, beef, carrots and chicken.
It was conducted in November when UK organic supplies of the products featured were readily available.
Overall, the amount of organic food sourced from UK farmers rose significantly, from 72 per cent in 2003 to 76 per cent in 2004, for the eight products surveyed.
But, as with last year's findings, the results also show a mixed picture, with significant variations between products, and retailers.
Nearly 20 per cent more organic onions were bought from the UK compared to last year across all supermarkets. The survey said the Co-op made a significant improvement by having nearly half of all organic onions from the UK.
Although it did say nearly all the organic apples in Co-op stores were imported from places like New Zealand, USA and Italy. The survey revealed only nine per cent of apples were bought from the UK.
The Co-op was congratulated for keeping sales of British carrots high. While this survey was being completed 96 per cent sold were from this country.
For meat products, the Soil Association said there was insufficient data to judge how Co-op stores performed.
Peter Melchett, the Soil Association's Policy Director, said: `Buying British organic food supports British farmers, guarantees the highest standards of animal welfare and helps British wildlife thrive. It also cuts down unnecessary food miles, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.`
The Government has set a target for 70 per cent of in-season organic food to be sourced from the UK by 2010 as part of the Organic Action Plan, which was launched in 2002.
Although some supermarkets are meeting or exceeding this target for some products, the Soil Association is particularly concerned about the high levels of imported pork, apples and beef.
The Soil Association will discuss the results with individual supermarkets, and will check on progress by repeating the survey later this year.