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.
New food labeling requirements will be coming in Canada, and the industry has a five year transition period (until 2022) to comply. Some of the changes include making serving sizes more realistic and consistent, making serving size and calories easier to find and read, adding a new percent daily value for total sugars, updating the list of nutrients, and more.
The Anti Fraud Initiative in collaboration with IFOAM—Organics International will host a workshop on “Improving Integrity of Organic Supply Chains” in Odessa, Ukraine September 21-22, 2017. The main aim of the Anti Fraud Initiative is to improve cross border communication among inspection and certification bodies, trade companies, label organizations and authorities to strengthen organic integrity.
The Best of the Organic Market (BOOM) Awards, selected from nominated products by an independent panel of judges, includes many product categories and retail outlets:
Best Organic Independent Retailer—Better Food Company
Best Organic Online Retailer— Coombe Farm Organic and Ocado
Best Organic Supermarket—Waitrose
July 17, 2017
The State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Performance Report 2017 analyzes the existing organic policy frameworks among Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments. As the first of its kind, the report is a benchmark, demonstrating the current state of affairs.
The report highlights that:
- Gaps in organic regulations persist in some jurisdictions. Jurisdictions with these gaps create an unequal playing field for organic businesses, hinder sector growth and fail to protect consumers.
- Quebec is leading the way by having the longest-standing organic regulations, extensive organic production support, market support and data collection.
- Ontario is falling short. Ontario is the largest organic market in Canada. Yet, there are no provincial regulations and provincial government support is limited and inconsistent.
- Organic data collection systems across the country are limited and inconsistently available.
Alibaba Group recently launched the “Taobao Global U.S. Merchants Network,” offering small businesses a way to reach the more than half a billion consumers on the Chinese e-commerce giant’s platforms.
The network will serve as a centralized matchmaking platform for U.S. small businesses to connect with merchants and distributors on Alibaba’s Taobao Global shopping site. Taobao Global is a dedicated cross-border e-commerce channel within the larger Taobao Marketplace, which is China’s large mobile-commerce destination.
July 10, 2017