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German organic market grows to 7.91billion euros

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“The growth in demand in all sales locations demonstrates that the potential of the organic market is far from having been fully exploited,” says Röhrig. In 2014 , the specialist wholefood trade maintained its strong growth and its 9 % rise in turnover was the biggest among all the sales channels. In the classic retail food trade, organic turnover rose by 3.6 %. In 2014, the retail food trade accounted for 53 % of turnover (2013: 54 %), the specialist wholefood trade for 33.0 % and other outlets for 14 %.

The specialist trade grows to 2.74 billion euros

“The organic megatrend continues unabated,” observed Elke Röder, the managing director of the Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN) e.V. at the Biofach press conference in Nuremberg. She pointed out that “although the total revision of the EU Organic Regulation is hanging over the whole sector like the sword of Damocles, demand and retail sales space are growing apace”. Despite an impending total revision and despite the shortage of organic land in Germany, the wholefood trade is continuing to grow strongly. According to the calculations of BNN, turnover in the specialist wholefood trade increased by 9.6% in 2014 - with total turnover reaching €2.74bn. Since 2010 turnover has grown by 44%. We have also seen strong growth in the number of outlets in the specialist trade, of which there are currently around 2,370. Surveys by bio verlag have revealed that last year the number of new outlets that were opened exceeded the number that closed by nearly 50. (see BioHandel 2/2015)

Specious alternatives being sold

“In recent years, we’ve seen really stable growth. However, last year we noticed the tendency to substitute specious alternatives for organic standards,” says Röder. “In the retail food trade attributes like regionality were often emphasised, even though the products were conventional and had all the well known downsides.” 

She added that a focus of their work and a major issue for BNN was, alongside the EU Organic Regulation, strengthening independent organic plant breeding. Her association and its members understand seed as a cultural good that must not be in the hands of a few multinational corporations. For this reason, the Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren is calling for the public promotion of organic plant breeding initiatives, and the association will come forward with its own support for plant breeding.

Better opportunities for conversion to organic 

In 2014, the area of organically managed land again expanded more than in the previous year. Nevertheless, the increase in organic farms and organic land could not keep pace with the demand for organics. According to current estimates, organically managed land grew in 2014 by approximately 28,331 ha to 1,089,000 ha, which equates to plus 2.7 %. The number of organic farms rose in the same period to 23,937, which is an addition of 666 farms or 2.9 %.

(Picture: Ton von Arnhem, embassy official with responsibility for agriculture in the Netherlands, Petra Wolf, from the management of NürnbergMesse and Barbara Böck, press officer at NürnbergMesse)


BÖLW chairman Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein pointed out that the preconditions for 2015 have changed: “The opportunities for converting to organic cultivation have improved. The market is growing, customers want to buy domestically produced goods, and raw materials for processors are in short supply. At the same time, from 2015 new and better support programmes are coming on stream and are a big incentive to convert to organic farming. For the first time for ages, all the federal states without exception are offering this kind of programme.”

Löwenstein’s demand: “Politicians have to reinforce the current positive trend by intelligently setting a framework, and what they must not do is choke it off with inappropriate measures. That’s why the  EU Commission must not be allowed to force through their total revision of the Organic Regulation but must be obliged to subject the existing legal framework of the organic food economy to continuous and workable further development.”





BioFach / Vivaness

Specialised Food Retail Trade

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