AN INDEPENDENT organic health food shop has opened a second branch, just 18 months after launching its first.

Business partners Matt Sage and Jessica Howie’s new outlet is in South Parade, Summertown, on the site of former furniture store Liscious.

Their first shop, in Magdalen Road, also recently doubled in size to cope with demand.

Both shops and website stock organic food, supplements, gifts, beauty and skincare products and organic bread from Vale of White Aston’s Bakehouse, Sandy Lane Farm, Oxford Cheese Company and Kidlington’s Willowbrook Farm.

The best-selling product is honey, including raw and organic varieties from Cowley and H to Pembrokeshire and New Zealand.

Musician Mr Sage, who lives in East Oxford, is also the founder of Oxford’s Catweazle Club, while Ms Howie is a dance teacher.

Mr Sage believes Wild Honey will is thriving because of the many events and activities, including tasting sessions, courses, workshops and book signings.

He said: “We are both very much about community – it is at the heart of everything we do.

“We wanted to create, not just a health store but a vibrant community health hub, where you could buy just about everything for your well-being, from the finest quality vitamins and supplements to a full range of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, while also getting free nutritional advice and meeting local growers and producers at our regular events.

“We have created a very strong brand.”

According to figures from the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2016, sales of organic products rose by five per cent in the UK last year to reach almost £2bn.

Despite austerity, the organic market has been growing for the past three years.

The report also shows sales of organic products through supermarkets fell from 80 per cent to 70 per cent during the past decade.

It describes “a huge opportunity” for independent retailers, as people do less big, weekly shops and opt for smaller, local stores instead.

At an opening party for the new Wild Honey Summertown store today customers have a chance to meet producers and have free nutritional consultations.

Suppliers dropping in include master baker Syd Aston from Aston's Bakehouse, Oxford-based organic snack-bar firm Nom Foods and vegan cake-maker Eloise Macdonald

Mr Sage explained: “The zeitgeist has moved a long way since the days of sacks of grain bags dumped on the floor in the health food shops of the 1970s.

“We want to create a vibrant, well-being resource for our community and to wrest food shopping away from faceless supermarkets and cynical so-called health food chains.”