A coordinated study of consumers in Germany, France, Denmark, China, and Thailand found that shoppers prefer organic products over non-organic and domestic products over imported, except in emerging markets, which prefer imported products. In addition, imported products from developed countries were preferred over other imported products. The preferences for organic and by country of origin depend on environmental concern, trust in countries as producers of organic food, and ethnocentrism. The study will be published in the March 2019 issue of Food Quality and Preference.
Organic packaged food sales grew one percent in 2017, to reach US$371 million, and the confectionery sales led the way, with sales up 4 percent to reach US$3.5 million. Artisanal brands accounted for about 84 percent of the organic packaged foods market. E-commerce was the largest sales channel for organic packaged foods, with 40 percent of the sales.
Work is ongoing to fill in sections of the new European Union regulations, and poultry production details are part of the discussions of the EU’s Committee on Organic Production, reports Organic-Market.info. Facilities with as many as 30,000 hens are still a possibility in a stable surrounded by long, tubular runs which would technically meet the requirements. In addition, as many as 10,000 chicks up to 18 weeks old could be allowed, as the space requirements for young animals could be decreased and the numbers of chicks increased. The committee has also discussed limiting the number of floors in aviaries to three, instead of four.
The Woolworths Group of supermarkets started a US$21.4 million fund to provide grants and interest-free loans to Australian farmers to expand or start organic fruit and vegetable production. Along with the funds, farmers have sales contracts with Woolworths. Demand for organic produce has increased 20 percent annually.
Swiss supermarket Coop increased its organic turnover 15 percent in the last year and 22 percent of fresh produce turnover was organic. Sales of blueberries and other soft fruits are growing fast. Swiss shoppers prefer domestic products, with about 60 percent of vegetables and 40 percent of fruits in Coop’s stores coming from Switzerland.
Oct. 18, 2018
Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, has a 100 acre organic demonstration farm in Kampiringisa. Crops on the farm, the first organic model farm in the country, include tomatoes, green beans, okra, cabbages, eggplants, cucumber, water spinach, pumpkins, peppers, cassava, maize, sweet potatoes, banana, cashew nuts, jute, strawberries, and sweet corn. Uganda exported about US$55 million in organic products, as of 2015/16 fiscal year.
Carrefour Brazil intends to double its organic product sales by 2020, in part through changes in store visuals and logistics and making organic products more affordable. The chain intends to reduce the price difference for organic products from 25 percent to 15 percent. Organic sales comprise about 0.6 percent of Brazil’s total sales.
Using inter-cropping systems, the Ukhrul District Fisheries Department has opened a ‘one-stop aqua shop’ to demonstrate organic farming methods and encourage organic farming. The department intends to develop a model farm and model market on the paddy land.
Land devoted to organic cultivation is up 10.2 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, to reach one percent of Ukrainian farmland ( 420,00 hectares). About half (45.4 percent) the organic farmland is used for growing grain. Another 18 percent of organic farmland is devoted to oilseeds; legumes make up 5.3 percent, and fruits and vegetables comprise about 2.3 percent of organic cropland.
Unless the United Kingdom (UK) arranges a transitional period for organic trade as they country withdraws from the European Union (EU), UK control bodies might be limited to only certification for domestic sales. The UK could apply for equivalence as an EU third country, a process that can take up to nine months, and could only begin on April 1, 2019 at the earliest. The Organic Trade Board and the UK Organic Certifiers Group are working with the UK’s Department of Education , Food and Rural Affairs to find solutions that will be least disruptive to trade.
The Finnish Organic Food Association says organic food sales there total €312 million, up 13 percent from the middle of 2017 to the middle of 2018. Organic foods represent about 2.3 percent of the food market, Fruit, milk, vegetables, eggs and coffee bring in the most money, and products with the highest market share include vegetable oils, eggs, baby food, and breakfast cereal.
With organic products on demand for export, India’s domestic market is also expected to grow from approximately US$271million to US$1.3 billion in the next three years.
China’s Golden Week holiday (Oct. 1-7)drove sales of organic food, as well as fashionable clothes, gold, silver, jewelry, and environmentally-friendly home furnishings. Overall, retail and catering sales were up 10 percent compared to the holiday period in 2017.
The European Union’s office for intellectual property no longer considers the EU organic leaf logo a company trademark, and has deleted it. A lawyer, Hanspeter Schmidt, asserted that the logo was not properly protected, especially outside of the EU, and should not be registered as a company trademark. Schmidt hopes this will bring about proper protection for the mark.
Compared to the first six months of 2017, organic sales in Germany in the first six months of 2018 are up 7.9 percent. Sales in organic specialty stores were up 5.3 percent in the second quarater of 2018, while organic supermarkets were up 4.7 percent and farm shops were up 12 percent.
A survey commissioned by Arla Foods shows that 61 percent of consumers in the United Arab Emirates purchase organic food more than once per month, and 38 percent are purchasing more than they were a year ago. Health is cited as the leading driver of purchase for 59 percent, and price is the biggest barrier for those who never purchase organic.
Select hospitals and other health care facilities are offering organic foods as part of patient menus. For example, in Denmark’s Gentofte and Herlev Hospitals, up to 80 percent of food is organic and produced in Denmark. In the United Kingdom, all milk and yogurt at the Royal Brompton Hospital is organic. Hospitals in France, Italy, Spain and Austria are also taking steps to offer organic food.
In the first half of 2018, spending on organic food and beverages was up 6.5 percent. Domestic spending on organic products is estimated at €3.5 billion. In addition, nine out of 10 families bought at least one organic product in the last year. Popular categories include fruit, vegetables, and grain products. Organic egg sales were up 21.6 percent. Supermarkets account for about 45 percent of organic sales, with specialty stores at 24 percent, other channels at 19 percent and food service at 12 percent.
Representatives form Chile and Brazil have signed a memorandum of understanding recognizing similarities in organic production regulations and facilitating trade in organic products between the two countries. In addition to requiring certification, the agreement requires product labels to include the organic seals of both Chile and Brazil.
On September 23, 2018, Swiss voters rejected two proposals that would have tightened regulations on imported products. Over 61 percent of voters in this direct democracy rejected the “Fair-Food Initiative,” which would have required the government to foster sustainable food production, including compliance checks worldwide, and over 68 percent rejected the “Food Sovereignty” initiative, which would have ensured imported food met Swiss standards.