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European organic market grew to 40.7 billion euros in 2018

In 2018 over 1.25 million hectares more were reported compared with 2017.

Denmark and Switzerland have the highest per capita consumption worldwide in 2018.

The organic market in Europe continues to grow. In 2018, it increased by almost 8 percent and reached 40.7 billion euros. Some of the major markets even enjoyed double-digit growth rates. At BIOFACH, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI) and partners are presenting the 2018 data on the European organic sector (February 12, 2020 from 4:00 to 4:45 pm, Messezentrum Nürnberg, Hall Shanghai).

(Frick/Nuremberg, February 12, 2020) In 2018, the European organic sector experienced strong growth in terms of area, producers and markets.

More than 15.6 million hectares of farmland are organic in Europe – Spain has the largest area

In Europe, 15.6 million hectares were organic in 2018 (European Union: 13.8 million hectares). With 2.2 million hectares, Spain continues to be the country with the largest organic area in Europe, followed by France (2.0 million hectares), and Italy (2.0 million hectares).

Organic farmland increased by more than one million hectares

The organic land increased by 1.25 million hectares in Europe and by one million hectares in the European Union, representing an increase of 8.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. France reported over 290’000 hectares more than in 2017 and Spain reported over 160’000 hectares more.

Liechtenstein is the country with the highest organic share of the total farmland in the world

Organic farmland in Europe constituted 3.1 percent of the total agricultural land and 7.7 percent in the European Union. In Europe (and globally), Liechtenstein had the highest organic share of all farmland (38.5 percent) followed by Austria, the country in the European Union with the highest organic share (24.7 percent). Ten European countries reported that at least 10 percent of their farmland is organic.

Organic producers on the rise

There were almost 420’000 organic producers in Europe (European Union: almost 330'000), and the largest numbers were in Turkey (almost 80'000) and Italy (more than 69'000). The number of producers grew by 5.4 percent in Europe (7.2 percent in the European Union) in 2018.

Continued growth of processors and importers

There were almost 76’000 processors in Europe and almost 71’000 in the European Union. Almost 5’800 importers were counted in Europe and more than 5‘000 in the European Union. The country with the largest number of processors was Italy (more than 20‘000), while Germany had the most importers (more than 1'700).

Retail sales surpass the 40 billion euro mark

Retail sales in Europe were valued at 40.7 billion euros (37.4 billion euros in the European Union). The largest market was Germany (10.9 billion euros). The European Union represents the second largest single market for organic products in the world after the United States (40.6 billion euros).

Steady growth of retail sales in 2018

The European market recorded a growth rate of 7.8 percent. Among the key markets, the highest growth was observed in France (15.4 percent). In the decade 2009-2018, the value of the European and European Union markets has more than doubled.

European consumers spend more on organic food

In Europe, consumers spent 50 euros on organic food per person annually (European Union: 76 euros). Per capita consumer spending on organic food has doubled in the last decade. Danish and Swiss consumers spent the most money on organic food (312 euros per capita in 2018).

Denmark has the highest organic market share in the world

Globally, European countries account for the highest shares of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets. Denmark is the first country to surpass the ten percent mark and has the highest organic share (11.5 percent) worldwide. Individual products and product groups hold even higher shares. Organic eggs, for instance, reach around 30 percent of the value of all eggs sold in some countries.

The survey on organic farming in Europe was conducted by FiBL and AMI. The FiBL data collection was carried out in the framework of the global survey on organic farming supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Coop Sustainability Fund, NürnbergMesse and IFOAM – Organics International.

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Organic in Europe at BIOFACH

  • The yearbook "The World of Organic Agriculture" can be obtained at BIOFACH at the FiBL stand in Hall 1 (stand 553). The book includes a detailed chapter about organics in Europe, with many tables and graphs.
  • The BIOFACH session on the European organic market takes place on February 12, 2020, from 4:00 to 4:45 pm in hall Shanghai, NCC East, Nürnberg Exhibition Centre. (For programme see below).

Programme of the session "The European market for organic food" at BIOFACH 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 4:00 to 4:45 pm, Hall Shanghai (NCC East), NürnbergMesse, Nuremberg

  • Dr. Susanne Padel, The Organic Research Centre, UK, Moderator
  • Dr. Helga Willer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland
  • Diana Schaack, Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft mbH (AMI), Germany
  • Dr. Eva Lacarce, Agence Bio, France
  • Lee Holdstock,  Soil Association, UK
  • Prof. Dr. Raffaele Zanoli, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy

More information at FiBL Biofach website


Media release (1.1 MB)
Media release (1.6 MB)