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French organic food sales sets record

PARIS - France's organic food sales rose by a record amount in 2015, hitting 5.8 billion euros ($6.4 billion), up 15 percent from 2014, France's organic food group Agence Bio said on Wednesday.

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PARIS - France's organic food sales rose by a record amount in 2015, hitting 5.8 billion euros ($6.4 billion), up 15 percent from 2014, France's organic food group Agence Bio said on Wednesday.

Sales were 1.6 billion euros in 2005.

Organic foods were still mainly sold in supermarkets which had a market share of 45 percent but sales in specialised shops and direct sales from producers rose sharply last year, up 17 and 20 percent respectively, Agence Bio said in a statement.

Purchases by the mass catering sector rose 18 percent but still only accounted for a small share of total sales.

Nearly 1.4 million hectares were cultivated with organic crops, up 23 percent on the year, with organic agriculture now accounting for five percent of all French farmland, it said.

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More than 200 farms in France, the European Union's largest agriculture economy, turned to organic production every month last year, it added.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by David Evans)

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