Global organic food sales hit $100bn

New data has revealed that worldwide organic food and drink sales surpassed the £100bn mark for the first time in 2018.

The research from Ecovia Intelligence shows that global sales increased by six per cent to $105bn last year, with the largest markets being North America and Europe.

According to the new report, Global Organic Food & Drink Market Trends & Outlook, the combined revenue share of these two regions is 90 per cent. Although sales remain concentrated in the western world, the share has declined from 97 per cent in 2005. A number of countries with a strong tradition of exporting organic crops are now developing strong internal markets, including China, India and Brazil.

In terms of country markets, Ecovia found that the US has the largest market for organic food and drink, comprising about 45 per cent of global sales. The German, French, Italian and Canadian markets are the next largest. In terms of market share, Denmark leads with almost 14 per cent share of retail food sales. The highest spenders of organic products are in Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Austria.

Ecovia commented: “Rising consumer awareness of organic products and widening availability are two major drivers of global growth. Distribution of organic foods is increasing in supermarkets, discounters, drugstores, pharmacies, and the catering and foodservice sector. Organic ingredients are being used in a growing number of European and North American foodservice establishments. Chained outlets, including McDonald’s and Pret A Manger, are also making commitments to organic product sourcing.”

It was also found that retailer private labels are wielding great influence in the organic food industry, with all leading food retailers in North America and Europe marketing organic foods under private labels.

However, the market share of organic foods remains below one per cent in countries outside Europe and North America.

According to Amarjit Sahota, Founder of Ecovia Intelligence, which has been tracking the global organic products market for over 20 years, there are many challenges ahead. The first is demand concentration; organic agriculture is now practiced in 181 countries, however, the bulk of sales are from the affluent countries. Another challenge is the growing number of national and private organic standards; almost 100 countries now have national standards. Outside the major ‘organic trading blocks’, there is no harmonisation of organic standards and very few equivalency agreements. There is also growing competition from the growing plethora of sustainability schemes and ethical labels. Organic remains the premier and dominant eco-label in the food industry, however, adoption rates for many agricultural commodities are lagging.

The matters will be discussed at forthcoming events hosted by Ecovia Intelligence. Find out more at www.sustainablefoodssummit.com 

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