In recent years, organic agricultural products have surged in popularity as consumers across the globe began to realize the connection between diet, health, and the environment.
This article breaks down the plethora of information out there and highlights statistics and key trends in the organic food industry.
What is Organic Food?
Organic food is different from conventionally grown food because it is produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. Organic food is a product of a farming system that relies (to a large extent) on locally available resources and depends on optimizing the benefits from naturally occurring biological processes. These products do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
By respecting the natural capacity of animals, plants, and the environment, organic agriculture tends to improve soil quality and the conservation of groundwater. The most commonly purchased organic foods are vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, and dairy products.
The Full Picture
According to HealthCareers, it is estimated that the global organic food and beverage market has surpassed $100 billion in 2018. It is projected that the organic food market will reach $375,98 billion by 2025.
Bifurcating the trend region-wise, the USA holds approximately 46% of the global market revenue share and dominates the market with the highest retail sales share of organic food with $45 billion. The reasons attributed to high growth in the use of organic products in the region are:
- Organic products have better taste
- They are healthier
- They are essential when shopping for baby food.
Countries with the broadest areas in organic production include China (3 million ha), Argentina (3.4 million ha), and Australia (35.6 million ha). Countries with the highest consumption of organic products per capita include Austria ($219), Luxembourg ($227), Sweden ($268), Denmark ($315), and Switzerland ($325).
The top-selling organic food products are kombucha (41.9%), sandwich bread (18.8%), and fresh chicken meat (11.1%). The majority of sales still take place from natural-food stores, although this is changing rapidly as the mainstream supermarkets explore this enticing market with their customers.
According to HealthCareers, consumers aged 16-34 from Spain, Poland, Italy, and Germany are more prone to spend more money on organic food. Nearly 38% of Spanish Gen Z-ers (born between 1995 and 2015) like the quality of bought products and are willing to spend more money to buy organic food.
In the US, the top buying groups are 18-29-year-olds (28.16%) and 30-49-years-olds (26.02%). This is a group motivated by the welfare of their kids as the general belief is that organic food is healthier. For most of them, organic is synonymous with quality. This perception is likely to be passed down to generations to come
Not everyone is sold by the “organic means quality” belief. Namely, 63% of French consumers would like to see more scientific proof that organic food is indeed better and healthier than conventional food. Also, “natural” products are perceived as expensive, especially in Germany, where 47% of the population is not sure whether organic food value outweighs the cost.
More than half of consumers in Italy see only a small difference in quality between organic and conventional food. Overall, consumers from five different European markets believe that buying organic is a massive waste of money, and the companies are putting the organic label on products to justify the higher prices.
There’s no question the demand for organic foods and beverages is on the rise. The organic sector is changing, with new certifications, definitions, policies, products, and even consumers continually being added to the fold.
However, the purchase of organic foods is price-sensitive and depends on the personal income of consumers. Nevertheless, a significant share of consumers is willing to pay higher prices for the purchase of organic foods. Why? Because it is believed that organic food is healthier for the planet and for us.