Dramatic rise in organic sales… (in France and the US!)

From Food.Navigator.com by Lindsey Partos, March 22nd 2010

Last year the number of organic producers in France rose by 23 per cent compared to 2008.

“In 2009 each month saw more than 300 producers signing-up to the state’s organic scheme,” estimates the country’s organic agency Agence Bio.

In 2008, organic food products hit €2.6bn, representing 1.7 per cent of the overall national food market in France. While still just a small slice of overall food sales in France, the organic market has proven to be resilient in the face of a recession that has otherwise knocked market growth. In 2009, 46 per cent of French folks consumed at least one organic product once a month.

Island of growth

And described as a ‘veritable island of growth in a lifeless food market’, a recent report from the French Institut Precepta estimates the organic market will grow by a healthy 8 to 10 per cent each year until 2012.

Socio-political factors combined with environmental concerns – plus the recent government measure that aims for 20 per cent organic food in state catering (schools, state-run offices, hospitals et al) by 2012 – are all feeding into this burgeoning market.

Further propelling the organic march is the diversification of organic supplies that have dovetailed from the bare essentials, such as milk, flour and butter, to more elaborate and sophisticated ranges, like biscuits and ready-prepared foods. In 2008, supermakets, hypermarkets and specialist organic shops witnessed the lion’s share of purchases, pulling in 82 per cent of organic sales.

Consumer choice

Expanding consumer choice for organic foods has contributed to the dynamics of a market that is also enjoying full-on marketing strategies to reach the consumer.

According to their first estimates for 2009, Agence Bio has calculated about 3600 new producers joined up to organic agriculture, a pace of growth not witnessed since 1995, and which brings the overall total of organic producers for the country to 16 400.

While players in the entire organic supply chain in France, including ingredients firms and processors, numbered 25 000 at the end of 2009, a marked 20 per cent leap on the previous year.

In terms of geographical regions that are emerging as organic ‘baskets’, the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France demonstrated a strident 35 per cent growth in organic land parcels, followed by the l’Ile-de-France – the zone on Paris’ doorstep – with 33 per cent, and Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur marking a dynamic 30 per cent growth.

U.S organic product sales reach $26.6 billion in 2009

From The Organic Trade Association (US)

U.S. sales of organic products continued to grow during 2009 despite the distressed state of the economy, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) revealed today in releasing findings from its 2010 Organic Industry Survey. In fact, organic product sales in 2009 grew by 5.3 percent overall, to reach $26.6 billion. Of that figure, $24.8 billion represented organic food. The remaining $1.8 billion were sales of organic non-foods.

“While total U.S. food sales grew by only 1.6 percent in 2009, organic food sales grew by 5.1 percent. Meanwhile, organic non-food sales grew by 9.1 percent, as opposed to total non-food sales which had a 1 percent negative sales growth rate. These findings are indicative that even in tough times, consumers understand the benefits that organic products offer and will make other cuts before they give up products they value,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director.

Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 38 percent of total organic food sales, reached nearly $9.5 billion in sales in 2009, up 11.4 percent from 2008 sales. Most notable, organic fruits and vegetables now represent 11.4 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales.

Since the approval of the final National Organic Program rule published in 2000, sales of organic fruits and vegetables have grown from $2.55 billion, representing approximately 3 percent of all fruit and vegetable sales, to the nearly $9.5 billion level and 11.4 percent penetration level. Meanwhile, during that time, organic food sales have grown from $6.1 billion to $24.8 billion in 2009, jumping from 1.2 percent of all U.S. food sales to 3.7 percent.

The mass market channel had the lion’s share of organic food sales in 2009, with 54 percent of organic sold through mainstream grocers, club stores and retailers. Natural retailers were next, with 38 percent of total organic food sales. Although still representing a small percentage of sales, farmers’ markets, co-ops and CSA (community-supported agriculture) operations gained a lot of interest as consumers increasingly look for locally and regionally produced organic foods.

In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led, with $634 million in sales, representing 35 percent of total organic non-food sales, Organic supplement sales were 12 percent higher than in 2008. Organic fibre (linen and clothing) totaled $521 million in sales, up 10.4 percent, while personal care products, at $459 million, were up 3.7 percent from 2008 sales.