The global organic market is nearing US$90 billion in turnover and showing highly encouraging future prospects.

Growth rates are particularly high in North America and northern Europe. In the USA, organic products account for 5% of the food market, with the sector’s turnover for 2016 amounting to US$43 billion according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Europe continues to deliver good results as well. According to the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW), Germany’s organic market grew by almost 10% in 2016, in the same period there even was an increase of over 20 per cent for the French market according to the Agence Bio. The United Kingdom’s market also returned to growth, expanding 7 per cent.

Sweden and France once again delivered the strongest growth in organic among European countries.

This latest organic market data, drawn from a number of leading national and international sources, has been collated by the Biofach organization, ahead of its 2018 exhibition and congress in Nuremberg (14-17 February 2018).

Amarjit Sahota from London-based business consultancy Ecovia Intelligence said: “Provisional calculations indicate that the turnover generated by the global market for organic food and drink in 2016 was close to US$90 billion. There were high growth rates in all the world’s major regions, but in North America and northern Europe in particular.” However concerns regarding the supply security of organic raw materials are increasing.

Germany: continuous growth

Germany’s organic market has traditionally been strong and recorded growth of 9.9%  in 2016. A total of €9.48 billion in turnover was generated across the country’s sales channels, and a figure of over €10 billion is forecast for 2017. With their range of organic products and turnover increase of 14.6%, sales achieved by conventional supermarket chains (retailers) was considerably higher than average last year at €5.45 billion. This is attributed to a combination of affordable pricing on own-label products and wider range of organics than in previous years. Turnover generated by natural food specialist stores climbed 5% to €2.85 billion. While half the money spent on organic products in Germany was spent at conventional food retailers, just under a third of it was received by specialist stores.

Austria: organic share nears 10% mark

Alongside Denmark and Switzerland, Austria has always been one of Europe’s leaders in organic production and consumption. For over two decades now, special efforts have been made to support organic agriculture. As a result, organic share of the total food turnover in Austria is constantly increasing. While it was still at 6.7%  in 2013, it had climbed to 8.6% by the end of June 2017 according to a RollAMA analysis conducted by AMA Marketing.

Italy: strong growth in 2016

Italy delivered double-digit growth both in its amount of organic farmland and its number of organic farms in 2016. At the end of the year, 300,000 ha were also in the process of being converted into organic farmland, taking the country’s total amount of organic land to 1.8m ha. Land used for vegetables, grain, and olives and wine grapes saw particularly big increases of 49, 32 and 23% respectively, with the regions of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria experiencing the most land growth. According to an analysis carried out by the Sinab Institute, 14.5% of Italy’s farmland is now organic. Of the 72,154 enterprises that sell or produce organic products, almost 56,000 are organic farms.

The total turnover achieved by organic products also saw a very positive change in 2016, rising 14%. The increase in organic turnover for conventional food retailers was slightly above average at 16%, while it was 3.5% for natural food specialist stores, and 13% for delivery services, weekly markets and farm shops. The market research institute Nielsen and the organic producers’ association AssoBio both say that, including the income received by hotels, restaurants and other catering businesses, the total turnover generated by organic foods in Italy in 2016 was therefore €3 billion.

France: powering on

According to a report published by the semi-governmental Agence Bio headquartered in Paris, French natural food specialist stores, conventional food retailers and farm shops received an impressive €1.2 billion more in turnover from organic products in 2016 than in the previous year. As a result, the industry grew by 21.7% and generated €6.7 billion in turnover altogether. Hotels, restaurants and other catering businesses also achieved €411 million in organic product turnover.

Sweden: organic market share among the world’s highest

Sweden has seen very strong growth in organic sales for the last four years, making its organic share of total food and drink sales one of the highest in the world. The country has recorded huge growth rates of between 30-40% every year since 2014, and between 2014 and 2016 alone, its organic market doubled in size to reach €2.6 billion. Growth has slowed slightly in 2017, partly as a result of shortfalls in supply in certain food categories.

  • Biofach 2018 will take place in Nuremberg on 14-18 2018.