Major organic markets globally have continued to post double-digit or high single-digit sales growth in 2016-17, with France's organic market growing 22 percent, Switzerland having the highest per capita spending (274 Euros) and Denmark the highest organic market share at 9.7 percent of total food (2016 figures). In 2017organic sales continued strong growth in France, the UK, and Canada.
In France, Agence Bio said that the EUR7 billion French organic market increased by 500 million euros in the first half of 2017, growing at better than 10 percent a year. Canada's Organic Trade Association (COTA) reported an 8.7 percent (CAGR) growth in organics from 2012-2017, with overall sales of CAD5.4 billion. The Soil Association’s 2018 Organic Market Report in February revealed the UK organic market is now worth over GBP2.2 billion, growing 6 percent in 2017.
The US Organic Trade Association reported that for the 2016 year, US organic sales totaled around US$47 billion, reflecting more sales of almost $3.7 billion from the previous year, with $43 billion in organic food sales. Organic food now accounted for more than 5.3 percent of total food sales in the country, up 8.4 percent in 2015, another significant first for organic.
According to a report from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL at BIOFACH 2018, retail sales in Europe were 33.5 billion euros in 2016 (EUR30.7 billion in the EU), with the European Union representing the second most significant single market for organic products in the world after the US.
In 2016, European market sales growth was 11 percent, while the EU growth rate was 12 percent, FiBL said. The top three countries for organic retail sales (In billion euros) were Germany 9.5billion; France 6.7bn; and Italy 2.6bn; followed by the UK and Switzerland.
Ireland and France had the top organic market growth rates at around 22 percent, followed by Denmark at 20 percent.
With a booming organic sector: 57.8 million hectares of organic agricultural land – the organic market grows to almost 90 billion US dollars in 2016. The 2018 edition of the study The World of Organic Agriculture, (data per end of 2016) published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International shows that the positive trend seen in the past years continues: Consumer demand for organic products is increasing, more farmers cultivate organically, more land is certified organic, and 178 countries report organic farming activities.
The survey was supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and NürnbergMesse, the organizers of the BIOFACH fair.
The market research company Ecovia Intelligence estimates that the global market for organic food reached 89.7 billion US dollars in 2016 (more than 72 billion euros). The United States was the leading market with 38.9 billion euros, followed by Germany (9.5 billion euros), France (6.7 billion euros), and China (5.9 billion euros).
In 2016, 2.7 million organic producers were reported. India continues to be the country with the highest number of producers (835,200), followed by Uganda (210,352), and Mexico (210,000).
Organic farmland increased by 15 percent to almost 58 million hectares A total of 57.8 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2016, representing a growth of 7.5 million hectares over 2015, the most substantial increase ever recorded.
Australia is the country with the most significant organic agricultural area (27.2 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3 million hectares), and China (2.3 million hectares). Almost half of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (27.3 million hectares), followed by Europe (23 percent; 13.5 million hectares), and Latin America (12 percent; 7.1 million hectares).
The numbers show a vibrant fast-growing organic sector. But the continued and avid interest of a few multinationals to purchase successful brands is also an activity to watch with attention. At BioFach in Germany, Ronald van Marlen made a presentation to stimulate discussion and thinking. Under the headline The Silent Takeover, van Marlen exposed how large food corporations are silently taking over the organic market and the effect of this action on the organic movement. Why are successful eco-preneurs selling their brands? According to van Marlen exhaustion could be one reason, but giving up is not a smart choice, considering that more and more power is nowadays in the hands of a few corporations that know how to manipulate governments, policies, trade, food and our safety. The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy by author Noreena Hertz in 2013, provides context to the topic.