Shoppers in China are reading food and beverage labels more closely. A Mintel market survey found 53 percent of shoppers want to know about additives and preservatives, 46 percent want to know if the products contain genetically-modified ingredients, and 43 percent are interested in organic or sustainable food certification.
FreshPlaza reports that the Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation will start certifying organic crops this year. The certification requirements are expected to align with the standards of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Japan has agreed to increase market access for US agricultural products by eliminating or reducing tariffs or allowing a certain quantity of imports at a low duty. Japan’s treatment of US products covered in the agreement will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement. Once the US-Japan agreement is implemented, over 90 percent of US food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. In addition, the United States and Japan have reached a separate agreement on a high-standard and comprehensive set of provisions addressing priority areas of digital trade.
Although Taiwan is one of the largest markets for organic food in the region, with $27.6 million of imported organic food and beverages in 2018, the import market is expected to slow in coming years due to a stringent policy of zero tolerance for pesticide residues on organic products and time-consuming import applications. In addition, regulations that went into effect May 30, 2019 require equivalency agreements for organic products, or certification to Taiwanese standards.
Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd intend to expand their organic product offerings. A press release in conjunction with their first Organic Supplier Strategy Day, the retailer reports that ALDI is the organic market leader in Germany, with more that 13 percent of organic food sales. Organic products account for 5.7 percent of ALDI Nord's own sales and 7.8 percent of ALDI SÜD's private labels.
Imported organic product make up about 30 percent of the market in China, with 70 percent provided domestically. Large supermarket chains are targeting middle to high-end shoppers. Online sales are giving vegetable purveyors like Hiu Fung (Shenzhen) Company Ltd. a boost.
A pilot project to develop organic agriculture in Chehe as part of a comprehensive development project which includes ecotourism and village reconstruction was the subject of an international conference in China’s Shanxi Province. About 0.47 square kilometers in Chehe is being farmed in organic grains, and vegetables, etc.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests has initiated a new register for producers, processors, traders, importers and storage facility owners involved in the country’s organic foods market.
Although participating in certification could address consumer confidence issues, organic certification costs are prohibitive for many small farms in China seeking to tap the domestic organic market. In addition, consumers have mixed expectations of organic produce--expecting it to be either unattractive or nicely packaged and attractive.
Sustainability claims carry hefty weight within the Japanese market and are an important consideration for food and beverage companies looking to increase market share or impose premium pricing, according to analysis from insights provider Lumina Intelligence.
Seven percent of Costa Rican consumers are interested in organic products, and they tend to be in the population with the highest average income.
On January 1, 2019, Germany updated their waste management laws in an attempt to advance the country’s environmental protection goals and correct regulatory loopholes. Companies selling packaged goods must register with the German government before placing any packaged products on the German market.
USDA reports that Former Northern Ireland Secretary and Brexit advocate, Theresa Villiers, has been appointed Secretary of State at USDA’s UK counterpart, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), by the new UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Her predecessor at Defra, Michael Gove, has been put in charge of Brexit ‘no deal’ planning. And his predecessor at Defra, Liz Truss, has returned as International Trade Secretary, succeeding Liam Fox. With Johnson and his appointments has come a new sense of Brexit urgency, albeit many challenges remain if the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union on October 31, 2019.
"Elevated food safety concerns coupled with evolved taste of the South Korean consumers generate increased demand for imported organic foods. Korea's imports of organic foods amounted to $140 million in 2017, up 8.2 percent from the previous year. The United States remained the leading supplier of imported organic foods to Korea by accounting for 18.6 percent (or $26 million) of the imports in 2017. The bilateral equivalency agreement for processed organic products established in 2014 as well as the Free Trade Agreement established in 2012 between the United States and Korea provides solid foundation for long-term success of American organic foods in Korea."
Nine people, allegedly part of an organized crime group, were arrested on suspicion of international large-scale fraud in the production and trade of organic food. Italian authorities arrested eight and Serbian officials arrested one in conjunction with the production and trade of food and beverages made from rotten apples then falsely sold as organic. Illegal assets worth €6 million as well as 1,411 tonnes of adulterated product with an estimated value of almost €5 million were seized.
Thailand, as a leader in rice production and exports, has rapidly expanded its organic rice farming due to the increasing preference for organic food amongst consumers around the world. The country aims to become the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' organic rice production hub with efficient production and product traceability, from grain selection to packaging. To promote Thai rice, the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand, has introduced a project called "Think RICE, Think THAILAND" which highlights organic rice production as well as the country’s national agricultural history, standards and Thai rice quality.
The government of India is considering reducing costs of certification and transition to organic in order to boost farm income and increase consumer confidence in organic products. India’s organic market is expected to triple from 2018 to 2020.
Land in the United Arab Emirates under organic cultivation practices increased 53 percent in the six months ending in April 2019. In addition over 1110 new organic products were sold there, including vegetables, fruits and dates, meat, poultry and eggs. UAE hopes to boost local food production by 40 percent to address concerns about food security, and diversification of production methods is seen as an advantage.
In 2018, 65 percent of Australian households buy organic products at least yearly, up five percent from the previous year. About 55 percent of Australian organic shoppers look for certification logos, according to Australian Organic. Of households that purchase organic, nearly half report allocating more of the household food spending for organic products. Major purchase drivers include increased awareness of chemicals and the environment.
In order to improve farm incomes, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire are proposing minimum prices for cocoa at $2600 per metric ton. Organic farmers can expect higher rates. The two countries are working together to raise living standards for farmers, and have suspended forward sales of cocoa beans for the 2020/21 season.