Thanks in part to the government’s investments in its Action Plan for Organic Agriculture (2017-2022), Thailand’s organic exports have had an average annual growth rate of 44 percent from 2017-2020. Products with significant export increases include: rice, durian, mangosteens, young coconut, coconut milk and green tea. Thailand’s next action plan for 2023-2027 is in development, and will highlight research, technology, improved certification systems and standards, marketing, and the organic food supply chain.
In 2020, organic food sales were up 14 percent from 2019 in the Czech Republic, and represented 1.77 percent of food and beverage sales. Household organic food consumption was valued at CZK 5.99 billion in 2020, up from 5.26 billion in 2019. Supermarkets and hypermarkets were the most common channel, with 32 percent of sales, followed by online sales (22 percent, boosted by the pandemic), organic specialty and health food stores (15 percent) and drugstores (15 percent). Shoppers expressed interest in coffee and tea, prepared foods (including baby food), dietary supplements and other processed foods, as well as fruits and vegetables and dairy products. In 2020, organic exports also increased.
With carbon farming a priority on the European Union’s agenda for climate change mitigation in agriculture, IFOAM Organics Europe’s new position paper urges the use of a holistic approach which includes not only on the amount of carbon stored in soils but also encompasses biodiversity protection, as in organic farming. A companion document outlines the environmental benefits organic agriculture, including reduced energy use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon sequestration.
The Organic Trade Association will offer an online Export Readiness Training series in 2022. The course will meet three times beginning May 4, and will cover developing an export plan, foreign market research, understanding organic trade agreements, export regulations, documentation, and more. Cost is $549 for up to two representatives per company.
With a market share of 10.9 percent, sales of organic products in Switzerland were over four billion Swiss francs in 2021, according to Bio Suisse. Eggs, bread and vegetables are the most popular products.
To assist Danes in finding climate-friendly foods, the Danish government plans to spend €1.2 million to develop a climate label for food. They aim to have the results before the end of 2022, and claim to have the world’s first government-controlled climate label for food. In 2021, Denmark included CO2 emissions in its dietary guidelines, resulting in recommendations to eat more legumes and vegetables and less meat.
China’s leading online food retailer JD Super has seen certified organic food sales increase 78 percent year-over-year in 2021, and up 110 percent between 2019 and 2021. Other key trends include increased sales of low fat, low sugar and grain-based staple foods; increase interest in products that indicate their geographical provenance (i.e. Wuchang rice); and new instant foods (such as dried mushroom soup mix) and cooking oils (i.e. avocado oil).
Improvements to the Free Trade Agreement between China and New Zealand are expected to improve New Zealand’s access to the Chinese market. China accounts for nearly 30 percent of New Zealand’s exports and is the country’s largest trading partner. The free trade agreement changes will allow opens China’s market to New Zealand wood and paper products, with 99 percent of New Zealand's wood and paper trade there receiving tariff-free access at the end of the transition period.
Organic products were 11 percent of purchases and valued at nearly 800 million Euros in Austria in 2021, according to the information from the rolling agricultural market analysis. Overall, Austrian households spend less on food retail in 2021 compared to 2020, but still 13 percent more than before the pandemic. Baking and cooking are down, but sales of ready-made meals and mixes are growing. Although online sales are a minor part of food purchasing at two percent, organic products are ordered more often than average.
Following an investigation of soybean meal imports from India during 2020, the Department of Commerce determined that countervailable subsidies are being provided to producers and exporters of organic soybean meal from India.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service offers four trade missions in 2022 to:
- London, United Kingdom: June 20-23
- Manila, Philippines: July 18-21
- Nairobi, Kenya (including buyers from across East Africa): Oct. 31-Nov. 3
- Madrid, Spain (including buyers from Portugal): Nov. 29-Dec. 3
Typically, trade mission participants conduct face-to-face meetings and receive in-depth market briefings and tours from FAS and industry trade experts who can facilitate the export of products from the United States.
In 2020, organic wine production in France increased 22 percent from 2019. A total of 9784 organic vineyards encompassed over 137,000 certified or transitional organic hectares. The land area represents 17 percent of the country’s surface area dedicated to wine production. A survey of French consumers revealed that 54 percent have consumed organic wine, up from 36 percent in 2015; 75 percent of the Paris metropolitan area have tried organic wine. About 4.7 percent of wine consumed in France is organic, with 45 percent of sales from direct sales, 10 percent from organic wine specialty shops, 23 percent from wine merchants, and 21 percent in supermarkets.
Both the amount and frequency of processed food purchases were up in the past year, reports a South Korean government survey. Nearly 24 percent of all households are buying processed foods two to three times per week, a 3.1 percent increase over 2020, and 68.4 percent of households purchase more that once per week. The pandemic is a main driver of this shift, and dumplings, pizza, ready meals were the most popular processed food items.
The pandemic boosted Swiss organic sales in 2020, with retail sales up 17 percent to 3.24 Swiss francs. Survey respondents reported buying five percent more organic foods due to COVID-19. Reuters reported that sales of non-organic foods were up only 2.4 percent in the same time period.
The USDA Foreign Agriculture Service is hosting the virtual US & Chile: SaborUSA Market Showcase May 9-10 to expand U.S. exporter knowledge on Chile’s trade and economic conditions, and connect exporters with potential buyers through one-on-one, virtual business-to-business meetings. Sign up by February 25.
In part as a result of the global pandemic, the worldwide market for organic food grew in 2020 to reach approximately $136 billion, up $15.9 billion, reports the The World of Organic Agriculture published by IFOAM—Organics International and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL). The United States is the largest market for organic products ($51.7 billion), while Australia leads in organic agricultural area (35.7 million hectares), and Liechtenstein had the largest organic share of total farmland (41.6 percent).
New preliminary guidelines for China’s regulation of genetically engineered crops will allow those that have been created via gene editing without inserting genes or DNA from other plant of animal species to garner approval in one to two years, rather than up to six years. Instead of extensive, large-scale field trials, as required for genetically modified crops, gene edited crops will only need laboratory data and small-scale field trials. It is unclear if the new guidelines apply to gene edited crops that include DNA from other varieties of the same species.
The Organic Trade Association reports that the European Union will recognize the United Kingdom’s organic standards as equivalent until December 31, 2023, including recognition for UK organic control bodies and allowing the use of thee EU organic logo on Great Britain organic food or feed. The UK is not expected to make any major changes to their organic policy in the near term.
A literature review commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and published by Wageningen University & Research suggests that environmental, fair trade and climate neutral labels raise awareness but do not necessarily drive more sustainable consumer behavior. The review also encourages combining labels and linking them to other drivers of behavior, and emphasizing other benefits such as health. Labeling systems such as green-yellow-red ‘traffic light’ health scores make it easier for consumers, but the review also found that groups with less sustainable consumption habits were less likely to be reached by current labeling systems.
United States exporters of composite products have new documentary requirements for shipments to the European Union after January 15, 2022. The new requirements are broken down into three categories of composite products: non-shelf stable, shelf stable with meat, and shelf stable without meat. A new mandatory U.S. government-issued export certificate is needed for all non-shelf stable composite products and for shelf-stable composite products containing meat (except gelatin, collagen, and highly refined products derived from meat).