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European organic market continued to grow in 2012

In 2012 the European organic market grew by approximately six percent to a value of almost EUR 23 billion. Consumers in the European Union spent close to EUR 21 billion on organic foods.

(Bonn/Frick/Ancona/Nürnberg, February 11, 2014) While sales in some countries were rather stagnating in 2012, other countries displayed a growth of more than 10 percent (Finland, Norway and the Netherlands). In the United Kingdom however, retail sales declined somewhat but have shown renewed growth in 2013. These figures were collected by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI) and further partners of the project "Data network for better European organic market information" (OrganicDataNetwork). The OrganicDataNetwork is funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union and aims at improving the availability and quality of organic market data.

The area under organic management in Europe increased to more than 11 million hectares in 2012, comprising 2.3% of the European agricultural area. In the European Union approximately ten million hectares, or 5.6% of the total agricultural area were managed organically.

Germany continued to be the largest market for organic products in Europe with a turnover of EUR 7,040 million in 2012. The turnover in France increased markedly to EUR 4,040 million. Switzerland had the highest annual per capita spending on organic products worldwide (EUR 189). Germany occupied the middle ground with a per capita spending of EUR 86.

Fruit and vegetables play a major role in the organic marketplace

The OrganicDataNetwork’s data analysis has shown that fruit and vegetables are not only pioneering products in the organic market in many European countries but also continued to hold particularly high market shares in 2011 and 2012, accounting for between a third and a fifth of sales in the national organic markets. Sales of organic fruit and vegetables are particularly significant in Italy, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Overall, fresh products account for a much greater share of the organic market throughout Europe than is the case in the non-organic market. In many countries, and especially in northern Europe, livestock-based foods and in particular milk and dairy products comprise a major proportion of organic product sales. Sales of organic meat and meat products are particularly high in Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and France, holding market shares of approximately 10%.

In contrast, in many other countries the market for organic meat and meat products is much less developed; this appears to be due to both lower processing capacities and major price differentials between organic meat and often low-priced non-organic meat. Cereal products that are easily sold in supermarkets and store well reach high market shares in the Czech Republic, Finland and Norway. Holding a market share of approximately 10%, bread and bakery products play an important role in the organic product range in Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Finland and Germany.

Further details about recent developments in Europe including an overview of EU farming and food policy, case studies on support mechanisms and country reports are available in the recently completed compendium "Organic Agriculture in Europe – Prospects and Developments", which is launched at BioFach. It was published by the EU Group of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM EU), the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute (CIHEAM-IAMB).

Further information



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The OrganicDataNetwork will hold the session "Case studies on improved data collection methods in selected countries" on February 13, 2014 at BIOFACH 2014, in Nuremburg, Room Singapur, NNC East.

Market information about organic food and farming at BIOFACH

More information about the organic  market is available at a number of sessions at the Congress of the BIOFACH, which takes place from February 12 to 15, 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany; see www.organic-world.net/news-organic-world.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1194.


The OrganicDataNetwork project

The project "Data network for better European organic market information" (OrganicDataNetwork) aims to increase the transparency of the European organic food market through better availability of market intelligence about the sector to meet the needs of policy makers and actors involved in organic markets The project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under grant agreement no 289376. The views expressed in this press release do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission, nor do they in any way anticipate the Commission’s future policy in this area.

Handbook "Organic in Europe. Prospects and Developments"

Pick up your copy at BioFach in Hall 1, Stands 1-543 and 1-64

  • About Organic in Europe. Prospects and Developments
    The new publication "Organic in Europe. Prospects and Developments" contains an overview of EU farming and food policy, case studies on support mechanisms, the latest growth trends in European organic food and agriculture and country reports on sector development from over 30 European countries. The publication is an initiative of the IFOAM EU Mind the CAP campaign that is co-financed by the European Union, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. The publishers are the EU Group of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM EU), the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute (CIHEAM-IAMB).
  • Presentation
    The book will be presented at BIOFACH in Nuremberg on February, 14 2014 at the workshop Mind the CAP: Policy opportunities and organic market development in Europe from 10:00-10:45 – Room: Riga (NCC East)
  • Quote
    Meredith Stephen and Helga Willer (Eds.) (2014): Organic in Europe. Prospects and Developments. IFOAM EU, Brussels
  • Order book
    The printed version (30 euros + postage; IFOAM EU members 15 euros) can be ordered at www.fibl.org/en/shop-en.html, order number 1634 (1635 for German version) and shop.ifoam.org/bookstore