The UK has one of the most intensively organic farming systems in Europe, but many British consumers say they prefer fresh foods and feel their supermarket food is not fresh enough.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was “confident” that the fresh organic market could take hold by 2020.
It said the market would cover produce, vegetables, herbs, fish, meat, poultry and dairy.
In total, the FSA estimates there are more than 12,000 fresh organic farms in the UK, with more than 100,000 organic products sold to consumers.
Its report, released on Wednesday, said the number of organic products currently sold in supermarkets was on the decline, but said organic foods could still be a key way to achieve a healthy diet.
“There are currently more than 500 organic supermarkets in the United Kingdom, with over 20% of UK supermarkets currently selling fresh organic produce and herbs,” it said.
However, it warned that the “market for organic products remains under-served by consumers and is under pressure from rising demand and competition”.
The FSA said the organic market was expected to grow from around $500m in 2015 to $1.8bn in 2020.
It said there were also more than 2.3 million fresh organic vegetables and nearly 1.2 million fresh fruits and vegetables sold to shoppers.
FSA chief executive, Mark Griffiths, said he was “excited” by the market for organic food.
But he said the industry faced challenges, including changing consumer tastes.
“[The] market for fresh organic products is currently under-represented, with many consumers still buying organic produce at supermarkets rather than organic farming, and are likely to buy less fresh organic fruit and vegetables,” he said.
“Whilst there is a need to promote organic farming and to reduce the amount of farm-raised meat, we must also work together to address the issues of food safety and sustainability.”
Food safety problems have also become an issue for farmers in recent years, with outbreaks of E.coli and salmonella cropping up in England.
Last month, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warned that consumers were being fed “alternative facts” about organic food and said it wanted to tackle the problem.
HSE chief executive Dr Helen O’Connor said the agency’s response to the outbreaks was “inadequate” and the issue needed to be “solved”.
“I’m keen to see more evidence and more scientific evidence on the risks of eating alternative foods, including alternative sources of nutrients, including organic food,” she said.