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Organic Monitor: predictions for sustainable foods in 2017

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The London based market researcher Organic Monitor is giving its predictions how the sustainable foods sector will develop in 2017 by categories like organic food, eco-labels, sustainable sourcing, traceability etc. 

Organic foods

Global sales of organic foods are expected to continue the positive trajectory, with most growth envisaged in North America and Northern Europe. Organic food sales in the US and Canada are predicted to surpass US $50 billion for the first time this year. The market share of organic foods is also expected to approach 7-10 percent in the US, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and neighbouring countries. With growth in organic farmland slowing, supply shortfalls are expected.

Eco-labelled foods

According to Organic Monitor Fairtrade will retain its position as the second largest eco-label for food products, however fragmentation will continue: more fair trade labels and standards are envisaged. As will be shown in 2017 editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit, other eco-labels are gaining traction in specific product categories; for instance, Rainforest Alliance for agricultural commodities, and Marine Stewardship Council for seafood.

Sustainable sourcing

The market share of sustainable sourced ingredients is expected to rise. Roughly 20 percent of all coffee is now produced according to some sustainability scheme. The share of sustainable sourced tea, cocoa, vanilla and sugar is expected to increase as large companies - such as Barry Callebaut and Givaudan - make ethical commitments.

Sustainability metrics are likely to become prominent in the sustainability programmes of food and ingredient companies. Whilst carbon and water footprints are still the most popular metrics, expect to see more metrics for energy, resource usage, waste, and social parameters. More natural & organic food companies are envisaged to make carbon neutral and zero waste pledges.

Food authenticity & traceability

Greater investment is envisaged in ingredient supply chains to provide transparency and to reduce risks of food fraud and adulteration. Non-GMO labelling schemes are expected to continue to gain popularity in North America, although the GM labelling bill has been passed. Retail sales of Non-GMO Project Verified food sales are predicted to exceed $20 billion in 2017.

Waste impacts

As food waste rises on the sustainability agenda, more food companies and retailers will make waste reduction pledges. Food byproducts will get greater recognition as a raw material and become a source of new products. ReGrained (USA) is an example of a sustainable food enterprise innovating using such raw materials.

Green packaging

The adoption rate of sustainable materials, such as bioplastics, is expected to rise. More natural & organic food companies are likely to adopt such materials as they look to reduce their packaging impacts.


The Sustainable Foods Summits will be covering these topics in greater depth during the course of the year:

North American edition: 18-20 January, San Francisco

European edition: 1-2 June, Amsterdam

Latin American edition: 18-20 September, São Paulo

Asia-Pacific edition: 29-30 November, Singapore


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