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Healthy growth in global organic food sector

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The interest in organically produced food is continuing uninterrupted all round the world. The market is developing thoroughly positively in most of the Western industrial countries. An ever larger range of organic food, new sales channels and good customer loyalty lead to sustainable growth in sales. For many countries, including Germany, Denmark and the USA, 5–10 % growth for the whole year is already becoming apparent again in 2013. Dr. Helga Willer from the Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FibL – Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), Frick (CH), points out: “The large markets are all growing, some of them even show two-figure growth.” Especially encouraging is that Great Britain has registered an increase again, for the first time in four years.

(Bild: Organic supermarkets attract more and more young people, like here in a city centre shopping arcade in Helsinki.)

Europe is also the continent with the largest growth of organic area in 2013. 10 million ha of land are farmed organically in the EU, which corresponds to an organic share of 5.6 % of the total agricultural area. Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic each have an organic share of more than 10 % of their agricultural area; the EU leader is still Austria with approx. 20 %.(Picture: Extensive pasture conditions: organic sheep in Latvia)

The specialist trade is still developing very well internationally. This has long ceased to be present only in organic food shops; now there are also large organic supermarkets, especially in Germany, France and Italy, but also in the USA, and the specialist trade is a major driver of overall development. The number of organic stores (from 200 m²) and organic supermarkets (from 400 m²) is growing continuously and in Germany, for example, should top the 800 mark this year. There were around 780 at the end of 2013. (Picture: Organic supermarket Naturgut in Echterdingen (D))

Sales of organic food in all sales channels in Germany, from farm shops and discounters to supermarkets, increased from 7.04 to some 7.55 billion EUR in 2013, a rise of 7.2 %, according to the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW – German Federation of the Organic Food Industry), Berlin (D). However, the area farmed could not keep up with market growth and rose only from 1.03 to 1.06 million ha (+ 2.5 %). The share of agricultural land was 6.3 %. Bavaria with 215,000 ha of organic land is the leader among the German states. Every fifth hectare of organic land in Germany is accordingly located in the southernmost German state, followed by Brandenburg with 136,000 ha and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with 125,000 ha. (Picture: Temma in Berlin)

The Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN – German Organic Producers and Traders Association), Berlin (D), has evaluated the sales figures of the organic food wholesalers participating in the BNN Monitor for the first half of 2014. The overall increase of 8.9 % indicates that sales are still clearly growing. The calculations are based on 18 companies, which account for some 75 % of the market volume in the organic food specialist trade and provide an informative basis for estimating the total market for organic food and natural products. The trend to an almost two-figure result is confirmed by the sales barometer for the organic food retail trade organized by corporate consultant Klaus Braun (picture), Speyer (D). This arrives at a figure of 8.2 % sales growth in its analysis of the data from around 300 specialist shops in the first half of 2014. This figure for the organic food retail trade in 2013 was 5.8 %.

Excellent prospects for organic in the Country of the Year at BioFach 2015 - the Netherlands: According to estimates by the organic federation Bionext, Zeist (NL), sales of organic food there rose to 1.07 billion EUR in 2013. The growth was probably 6–8 % in the organic sector in general and 9 % in the organic food trade, according to Bavo van den Idsert, Director of Bionext. In the year before, as much as 55 % of sales were achieved via the conventional supermarket chains, 30 % via the specialist trade, 8 % via out-of-home catering and 7 % in the other sales channels like weekly markets, farm shops or Internet sales. (Picture: Most successful organic supermarket chain in the Netherlands: Ekoplaza

France should be able to look forward to impressive growth of 9 % in the organically farmed area in 2013. Including the 130,000 ha in the conversion phase, this increased to 1.06 million ha, exactly the same level as in Germany. The number of farmers grew to 25,500 and the number of manufacturers and traders to 12,400. By May 2014 the number of organic farmers had already increased by another 1,000 and the area had grown to over 1.1 million ha. (Picture: Organic vegetables at Carrefour Bio)

Not only the organically farmed fields, vegetable areas and meadows have grown by 9 %, but the turnover too. This rose to 4.56 billion EUR, which includes the 172 million EUR sales in out-of-home catering. The market volume has thus doubled in the five years between 2007 and 2012. However, the organic share of the total food market is only 2.5 %. The cause of this is probably the fact that the growth rates in the years after the turn of the millennium were rather low. By comparison, the market share in the USA and Germany is around 4 %. The product groups in which the French particularly value organic include eggs and milk, for which 15 % and 11 % of sales respectively are achieved with organic quality. (Picture: Public catering in organic quality in Denmark)

The number of all agricultural firms, processors and traders in the organic sector in Italy increased by 5.4 % to 52,383 in 2013 (SINAB, organic agriculture data from the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Rome, IT). The number of organic farms rose by 3.4 % and the number of processors and traders in the organic sector grew by 10 %. The organic agriculture area rose by a good 12.8 % and reached 1.3 million ha, which corresponds to an organic share of over 10 % of the total agricultural land. Organic farming in the regions of South Italy (Sicily, Calabria, Apulia) is growing particularly rapidly due to new regional support programmes. These exist for 50 % of the organic farms.
The north of Italy is traditionally stronger in manufacturing and trade. 2,023 processors of organic food and thus 33 % of all such companies in Italy are located in Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and the region around Venice. The distinctly growing demand is also stimulating the market. According to information from the consumer panel Ismea GFK-Eurisko, Rome (IT), sales have risen by 17 % in the first five months of 2014. (Pictures: Presentation of vegetables at Sana; growing interest in organic products)
With 30 % growth in the first half of 2014, Sweden should do particularly well this year. Some supermarket chains like ICA (+52 %), Coop (+37 %) and Axfood (+44 %) even beat these figures. Growth last year reached 13 % according to investigations by Ekoweb. In absolute figures sales in 2013 were the equivalent of some 1.3 billion EUR. (Picture: Products of ICA's private label brand I love Eco)

The organic sector in Great Britain registered slight growth in 2013 for the first time since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008. The market grew by 2.8 %. This was announced by the Soil Association, Bristol (GB), in its current Organic Market Report 2014. The organic sector in Great Britain turned over 2.16 billion EUR last year. This positive development is attributed to factors such as the independent retail trade, the box delivery subscription scheme, independent online platforms, farm shops, organic food shops and weekly markets. (Picture: Planet Organic in London)

Also excellent prospects for organic overseas: Organic sector sales in the USA rose from 31.5 billion to 35.1 billion US dollars in 2013, which equates to 11.5 %. Such a high growth rate has not been achieved for five years, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), Brattleboro VT (USA). 92 % of the sales revenues (32.3 billion US dollars) were achieved with organic food, the rest with non-food articles. The data are based on information from over 200 leading companies in the organic sector, which has been evaluated by the Nutrition Business Journal, Boulder CO (USA). US citizens spent 760 billion US dollars on food in 2013, 4 % of this on organic products. For individual product groups like fruit and vegetables, every tenth dollar spent is already an “organic dollar”. (Picture: Garden Market in Park City, Utah)

The whole sector meets once a year at its event highlight BioFach, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, in the Exhibition Centre Nuremberg. About 2,200 exhibitors are expected there from 11–14 February 2015 – 200 of them at Vivaness, the international trade fair for natural personal care. 




Great Britain


BioFach / Vivaness

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