Denmark plans to increase the number of organic farms, in part by spending 1.1 billion kroner through 2019 to help farmers convert to organic methods.
Proposals from Chinese businesses seeking joint ventures for selling foreign products in China have increased, but these agreements are not usually in the interest of the foreign company. Sticking to standard distribution agreements is one tip, as is having an agreement that can be easily cancelled if performance objectives are not met.
A consumer survey conducted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) report found four major trends in China’s packaged food market: the gradual return of consumer confidence in domestic brands; preference for attractive packaging and international flavors; diversity of online and physical sales channels; and growing popularity of organic varieties. The rise in popularity of organic products echoes a shift of consumer interest in food ‘safety’ to ‘health.’ A rise in income and a drop in the price of organic foods is also seen as part of the increased interest in organic products. Organic and Wellness News reports that the organic market in China is about one percent of the food market, or about US$2.5 billion.
In 2016, land in organic cultivation exceeded 2 million hectares, up 2.6 percent from 2015. Grassland is the largest share of organically managed area.
Facilities using the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) increased 8.2 percent, from 4,642 facilities in 2016 to 5,024 facilities in 2017.GOTS certified facilities are located in 62 countries around the world with continuous growth in both production as well as consuming regions.
Countries or regions with the largest increase in GOTS certification in 2017 are (in rank order): Bangladesh (+40%), North America (+39%), Portugal (+39%), Europe (+29%).
The top ten countries in terms of total number of certified facilities are: India (1658), Bangladesh (534), Germany (480), Turkey (445), Italy (307), China (292), Pakistan (194), Portugal (180), USA (99) and South Korea (69).
Organic wheat production declined in 2016 to 1.4 million hectares from 1.5 million hectares, reports IFOAM—Organics International. Italy, China, United States, and Turkey were the leading organic wheat producers. Meanwhile, Italy increased its acreage devoted to organic wheat, and also increased its use of ancient grain varieties.
The Organic Industries of Australia association, formed in February, will perform the functions of the Australia Organic Industry Working Group and serve as a voice for the industry on governmental policy matters. Options for the group include to demonstrate unity of purpose for the organic sector include merging functions with Australian Organic Ltd. and merging with the Organic Federation of Australia.
The 2018 edition of “The World of Organic Agriculture” (data per end of 2016) published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International shows 57.8 million hectares of organic agricultural land and the worldwide organic market has grown to almost US$90 billion. The United States is the leading market with 38.9 billion euros, followed by Germany (9.5 billion euros), France (6.7 billion euros), and China (5.9 billion euros). In 2016, most of the major markets continued to show double-digit growth rates, and the French organic market grew by 22 percent. The highest per capita spending was in Switzerland (274 Euros), and Denmark had the highest organic market share (9.7 percent of the total food market).
The Soil Association reports that key food trends in the United Kingdom fit well with organic products: healthiness, taste and inspiration, fits around me, pleasure, value, and makes a statement. Sales of organic products in the United Kingdom are valued at €2.47 billion.
In the last four years, shelf space dedicated to organic products is up 60 percent. Strict limits on pesticide residues on produce have helped drive the change.
From 2012 to 2016, land in organic production grew 18.7 percent in the European Union. Bulgaria’s organic land area increased 310 percent, and Croatia had an 193 percent increase. In Romania, however, land devoted to organic agriculture decreased over 20 percent.
Sales of fresh food via e-commerce grew 59.7 percent in 2017, according to data from consulting firm iResearch. Fruit is the most frequently purchased, followed by dairy products and vegetables.
India’s online grocery sector has seen investment from some of the world’s largest players recently. Alibaba invested in BigBasket; WalMart is considering a stake in Flipkart; and Amazon has invested in its India unit. The grocery retailing market in India is estimated at US$600 billion.
The government of India has dedicated approximately US$23.5 million to support organic agriculture in the northwestern state of Uttarakhand over the next three years. The vision is to make this another organic state, as is Sikkim.
Modeled after other successful consumer education and promotion events around the world, New Zealand’s first Organic Week (April 9-15, 2018) will focus on encouraging the involvement of the wider organic community. Organic grocery sales in New Zealand grew 127 percent between 2012-2016, and the next organic market report is expected in mid-2018. New Zealand does not have a national standard for organic products.
Feb. 1, 2018
The government of Canada will provide $250,000 of the approximately $550,000 cost of the next five-year review of Canada’s organic standards in 2020. According to the Canada Organic Trade Association, the organic industry is exploring various options with government to obtain the funds to pay the remaining amount. If the review is not conducted, the standards would have to be withdrawn, putting international trade at risk.
Organic foods and agriculture are becoming more popular, especially in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. With a 2014 change in procurement for school meals that emphasizes quality over price, organic foods now comprise 40 percent of primary school meals. In addition the number of organic specialty supermarkets is up nine percent, and conventional supermarkets have expanded their organic offerings. Public awareness of animal welfare issues has boosted the market for organic sausage and meats, with sales up 17 percent.
Valued at SEK 27.9 billion in 2017, the market share for organic food products was 9.3 percent, up 9.8 percent form the previous year. Organic food out of the home lead the growth with a 15 percent increase. Overall, retail sales are the largest sector of the organic market in Sweden, with 61 percent of organic food sales. Within the retail sector, organic sales in hard discounters such as Lidl and Netto are outperforming other store formats. Within the food service sector, organic food has a 35 percent share of public food service operations, such as school meals.
A legal opinion from the advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union said that certain gene editing techniques might not fall under the European Union’s primary law about Genetically Modified Organisms. Those techniques include gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR. The current law, EU Directive 2001/18/EC, covers techniques that involve introducing foreign DNA into an organism, but not traditional plant breeding or use of irradiation for mutagenesis. The new legal opinion would not prevent individual EU member states from making their own rules for gene editing.
The comment period for the European Union’s changes to the rules for indicating the country of origin or place of provenance of the primary ingredient of a food where different to that given for that food is open until March 12, 2018.