The Organic Trade Association was awarded funding from two separate USDA programs for 2019. The annual Market Access Program funding was $883,593 for 2019, the largest award the association has received in its almost two decades as an official cooperator in USDA's flagship program to promote American agricultural products in global markets.
A new program introduced in the fall of 2018, the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, began as part of the funding assistance given by the U.S. government to those affected by retaliatory tariffs. The Organic Trade Association was awarded $547,085 to carry out market promotion activities in Mexico, Canada, the Middle East, and Asia.
Learn more about OTA's international promotion programs.
In 2018, the market for organic products grew 5.3 percent according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report. Organic products comprise 1.5 percent of the overall food and beverage market. Home delivery, up 14.2 percent and accounting for 14 percent of organic sales, is the fastest growing marketing channel. Sales in food service are up 8 percent; sales in independent retailers were up 6.2 percent and supermarket sales were up 3.3 percent.
On April 11, in anticipation of an April 12 Brexit which has now been extended to October 31, The United States and United Kingdom have signed letters to recognize their respective organic programs as equivalent in the event that the UK should leave the European Union to become an independent market. The equivalence arrangement replicates the current arrangement between the US and EU to ensure the smooth flow of organic trade. Further details will be shared with stakeholders/certifiers once the timing of the UK exit from the EU is determined.
Over the next five years, the Middle East and North Africa (excluding sub-saharan Africa) region are expected to lead worldwide growth in health and wellness packaged food sales, according to Euromonitor’s Gulfood Industry Outlook Report 2019. The market is expected to reach US$31.5 billion by 2023.
As part of a plan to support organic production, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture is providing about $431,000 to 165 farmers to help them convert to organic agriculture. Saudi Organic Farming Society is implementing the support program with field visits to prepare farms for certification.
Bio c’Bon, a joint venture in Japan of Aeon and Marne & Finance Europe, plans to expand from four stores in Tokyo to 50 branches by 2020. Organic sales in Japan are growing more slowly than the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, which has an average annual growth of 13 percent.
France’s National Committee of Biological Agriculture postponed until July 2019 a vote on whether produce from heated greenhouses is acceptable in organic production. Synabio, an association of over 190 organic companies, and the National Federation of Organic Agriculture (FNAB), which represents organic farmers in France, have both requested a moratorium on heated greenhouses until there is a decision.
Several factors are driving interest in health foods in China, including an aging population, increasing education, and an internet-savvy middle class. Furthermore, organic products are seen as a status symbol. Shoppers (73 percent) are willing to pay extra for healthier food. Meanwhile, as much as 60.5 percent of fresh food in China was sold online in 2017.
Per capita spending on organic food CHF360 in 2018, up from CHF330 in 2017. Overall, sales were up 13.3 percent in 2018 and hit $3 billion. Supermarket chains Migros and Coop brought in 3/4 of the sales. In some sectors, (eggs, fresh bread, vegetables, salad and potatoes) organic products had over 20 percent market share. Over half (56 percent) of shoppers buy organic food at least several times per week.
Sales of organic products at retailer Rema 1000 were up 20 percent in 2018, the 12 consecutive year of double-digit increases in organic salesStore leaders say that increased awareness of climate and environmental issues is one factor.
The Ministry of Agriculture intends to promote organic food in its marketing campaigns. The Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism (SOCR CR) and the PRO-BIO Association of Organic Farmers have signed a joint memorandum to strengthen cooperation. Sales of organic food there have increased tenfold in the last three years. In 2016, organic food sales were valued at nearly €99 million.
Research from the consumer organization Consumentenbond found that organic food prices at supermarket group Dirk were about 13 percent below average, and prices at organic specialty shops were 15 to 28 percent higher than average. In some instances, organic products cost less than non-organic. Five years ago, organic products were twice as much as non-organic food, but now organic is 63 percent more.
The National Food Crime Unit’s new leader intends to crack down on the most serious food crimes which put customers’ health at risk. Mislabeling cheaper products for more expensive goods is one category of food crime the unit investigates.
In a survey of 609 shoppers, researchers found consumers’ concerns regarding the environment, health, food safety and their knowledge of organic food all significantly impacted their purchase behavior of organic meat. Food stores’ green marketing practices significantly enhanced consumers’ actual purchase behavior, but premium prices of organic meat were a deterrent. POositive attitudes about organic meat did not necessarily lead to purchase.
The industry journal Lebensmittel Zeitung reported that Edeka, one of Germany’s largest retailers, plans to add separate stores under the “Naturkind” brand in addition to organic shops within the shop. Edeka also plans to expand its own “Edeka Bio” brand.
March 19, 2019
The European Commission’s investigations of irregularities in several lots of products from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have resulted in the European Commission’s withdrawal of its accreditation of Control Union Turkey, Moldova, UAE, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
France’s ministry of agriculture and food has established a National Council for Collective Catering, which will ensure better food is served in canteens and cafeterias. One objective is to ensure that by 2022, 50% of food served in places like school cafeterias is organic, sustainable or of a specific quality.
Argentina exports more organic apples and pears to the European Union than any other country, with an annual volume of 30,000 metric tons which represents nearly 21% of the market.
With the impending October 1, 2019 sunset of Australia’s food import regulations, a new Imported Food Control Amendment Act is coming. Regulations will:
- require a food safety management certificate for food where at-border testing alone is insufficient to provide assurance of food safety
- require all importers to provide documents on request, demonstrating the traceability of imported food, one step forward and one step backward along the food supply chain
- establish differentiated enforcement provisions that are consistent with state and territory government food safety legislation, where applicable to imported food
- broaden Australia’s emergency powers to allow food to be held at the border for up to 28 days where there is uncertainty about the safety of a particular food
- capacity to monitor and manage new and emerging imported food risks through the application of a variable rate of inspection or inspection and analysis for a period of up to six months
- enable recognition of a foreign country’s food safety regulatory system where there is equivalence with Australia’s food safety system. Food imported from these countries will be subject to a reduced rate of inspection.
Organic wine consumption, about 3.6 percent of the world’s wine market, went from 349 million bottles in 2012 to 676 million bottles in 2017, nearly doubling in five years. By 2022 the expectation is that more than 1 billion bottles will be sold annually worldwide. Italy, France and Spain, combined, produce 79 percent of the world’s organic wine.