On September 14, the European Parliament consented to an organic equivalency agreement with Chile, and the European Council adopted the decision on October 9; the agreement will begin three months after both countries have completed all the internal processes. Products from Chile included in the agreement are unprocessed agricultural products produced and processed agricultural products for use as food that have been processed in Chile with organically grown ingredients that have been produced in Chile or that have been imported into Chile either from the EU or from a third country that is recognized as equivalent. EU products in the agreement include unprocessed and processed agricultural products that are produced or processed in the EU.
The European Union (EU) has implemented a new system of electronic Certificates of Inspection for imports of organic products. As of October 19, 2017 only the certificates initiated via the electronic system will be valid. The countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) are also implementing the electronic certification system in TRACES. Norway and Iceland follow the same timeline as EU countries. Switzerland will start using the new system as of January 1, 2018.
Fresh produce, dairy and processed foods are fueling organic sales in the UK, as they are tipped to exceed a record £2.2bn (€2.5bn) by the end of the year.
The Organic Trade Association will host a pavilion at BioFach 2018, February 14-17 in Nuremberg, Germany. Participants must promote certified organic product of 51% or more U.S. origin ingredients by value or volume, and provide provide an organic certificate for each product to be exhibited. Register by October 6; preference given to first time exhibitors.
At the recent IFOAM EU Organic Congress, representatives of the EU and of the organic sector discussed pros and cons of the new European Organic Regulation, which is expected in June 2020.
The Canadian organic market is rapidly expanding, with two in three Canadians (66%) spending at least some of their weekly grocery budget on organic items, up a staggering 10 points from 56% in 2016. Fresh produce remains the most purchased category, with 76 percent of organic choppers choosing fruits and vegetables. Households with children are more likely to buy organic, and 83 percent of millennials purchase organic food. The regular grocery store or supermarket (80%, +5 points from 2016) remains the most popular destination for buying organic foods, followed by mass retailers (39% in 2017 and 2016), and natural health stores (24% in 2017 and 2016).
The Organic Trade Association opened a liaison office in Korea, and will launch a new Facebook page to communicate with Korean consumers beginning September 2017. This channel will educate the trade, consumers and media about US organic products, and increase the awareness of USDA Organic Seal, and organic in general. OTA is seeking samples of US produced, USDA certified organic products showcasing the USDA seal, as well as businesses that may be interested in in-person marketing events in Korea. Samples will be sent directly to highly engaged social media users. Contact Monique Marez at the Organic Trade Association for more information.
A report from the USDA Global Agricultural Information Network examines the barriers to exporting US organic products to Taiwan. Taiwan authorities are working to promote organic production and consumption, and increase exports. New organic regulations are expected by the end of the year, and among the provisions the legislation seeks to pressure countries to recognize Taiwan’s organic products by ceasing recognition of other trading partners’ organic products if they do not recognize Taiwan’s organic system as equivalent within one year. Among the barriers to trade, imported organic products must apply to Taiwan authorities for approval to be labeled as organic even if Taiwan has recognized the exporting countries’ organic standards as equivalent. In addition, Taiwan has a de facto zero tolerance for traces of any unapproved substances.
The World Trade Organization compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Japan's country of origin labeling requirements. The .pdf includes useful examples.
Organic specialty retailers continue to see higher sales growth (over 20 percent) compared to supermarkets, and have 44 percent of the market share for organic fruits, vegetables, and grocery products. In 2016, France had 2606 organic specialty shops which , increased organic sales area compared to 2015 and were more profitable than conventional retailers.
French shoppers spent €7.147 billion on organic food in 2016, with food purchased for home consumption up 21.7 percent compared to 2015. More than half of the sales value came from fresh produce. Imported organic products accounted for 24 percent of the market, with half of imports coming form other European Union countries, and 43 percent of remaining imports are tropical products or foods not produced in quantity in France. Meanwhile, 89 percent of French people used organic products in 2016, with 69 percent using organic products at least once per month.
According to a report from the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, over 70 percent of Chinese consumers believe that personal consumption has a direct impact on the environment. ‘Safety and health’ topped the reasons for purchasing products that have the least pollutants and do minimum harm to the environment, with environmental-friendliness and good quality as the next two reasons.
With Germany’s organic food market valued at €9.48 billion in 2016, conventional supermarkets sell over half, or about €5.45 billion, and the organic supermarket/health food sector sells €2.85 billion. Most major retailers have store brands of organic products. Price differences between non-organic and organic staples such as milk in such a competitive environment are negligible, when comparing store organic brands with conventional brands. The five largest chains are Denn’s, Alnatura, BioCompany, Basie, and Super Bio Markt.
Sales of organic food in France have increased more than three fold since 2007, and 42 percent of sales went through supermarkets in 2016. A report from the French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir examined the retail pricing of organic foods and found supermarkets had profit margins on organic products that were 96% higher than on conventional products. Furthermore, only half of the price difference between organic and non-organic products is returned to farmers. Over three-quarters (77%) of French shoppers say high prices stop them form choosing more organic food.
According to the research firm MarketLine and its Global Organic Food report, the global market in organic food expanded between 2012 and 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9 percent, and is forecast to accelerate to a value of $187.6 billion by 2021, representing a CAGR of 13.8 percent. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region, especially China, are expected to expand more rapidly than in North America. The United States’ share of the global market is expected to shift form 45 percent today to 34 percent in 2021. Increased knowledge of the environmental and health benefits of organic food is expected to drive demand.
Brazil’s Committee on Transparency, Governance, Supervision and Control and Consumer Protection approved a Senate Bill on organic cosmetics. If the bill is approved by the full legislature, organic cosmetics would have their inputs certified as meeting Brazil’s organic regulations.
Products exported from India must meet the country’s National Programme for Organic Production, and a recent survey of businesses by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations calls for similar standards for products sold domestically. Having these standards in place would enable international equivalence agreements and reduce the cost of exports. In addition, the businesses encouraged the government to develop a vision for short and long term plans for regulations for the organic sector. Having such plans in place would stabilize the regulatory environment and spur investment in the organic sector.
About 2.9 million eggs produced in Belgium and the Netherlands, including some organic eggs, were contaminated with the insecticide Fipronil, which is not approved for use with food-producing animals. The contamination may have resulted from tainted cleaning agents. Supermarkets have been removing the eggs from the shelves, and the food authorities have warned that children especially should not eat the eggs in question.
IFOAM—Organics International has released its annual report for 2016. The report examines its activities and spotlights organic economic, advocacy, and social activity worldwide.
July 31, 2017
Organic agriculture represented 7.5 percent of total agricultural land in Germany in 2016, and saw above-average growth of 14.9 percent in land devoted to organic farming. The minister of agriculture has said that his goal is to have 20% of Germany’s farmland as organic to support the country’s growing demand for organic products.