A Special Report on the Organic Sector
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
As Greenplanet reports, the Italian newspaper „Republica“ has published a special feature on the organic sector. Italy is the most important producing country in the organic sector in Europe and ranks third in the world. Among the topics covered were the control methods for organic groceries, research and technology, an article about the gourmet sector, one about “open doors” in organic companies and a short one about famous people in the organic sector.
It is said that this sector is an indicator of the contradictions in Italy. On the one hand, it is a successful country regarding export, since there is currently a trend to return to the traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Effective marketing has led to the wish to improve the quality of life.
On the other hand, Italian organic products have not achieved the expected success on the national market. Organic products are reserved rather for the market of north-western Europe than for the national market.
The home market, due to the lack of effective coordination in promotion, control of prices and distribution, has not been in a position to emulate the opportunity presented by Germany or Great Britain.
The organic sector is expanding - 7 % of the entire agricultural production in Italy is already organic, but today there is still only a modest internal demand. An Italian family spends an average of 80 Euros per year on organic food. This trend does not meet the hopes that arose in the 90s, when the large distributing companies joined the organic market.
The Coop, for example, has combatted the commercial crisis of the past year (in which the unwillingness to pay more for organic products doubled) and now offers 300 organic products. But this market has been in a growing phase for a decade.
As Andrea Ferrante, President of Aiab (Associazione Italiana per l’ Agricoltura Biologica) says, the entry of large distributing companies in the market has opened up new possibilities, but on the other hand “organic” has been losing its personal touch. To really increase the sector and to confront the strong competition from countries round the Mediterranean like Egypt, Morocco and Spain, it is the producing companies rather than the distributing companies that have to return to the principle of sustainability. In this situation, the two most promising approaches are the short distribution chains like direct sales and school cafeterias; the latter have managed to sell a million meals a day.
As Verdi’s President Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio says, the success of school cafeterias represents an element of great hope. The growing number of obese children is one clear sign that it is necessary to start the process with educating consumers.