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Global organic market: Time for organic plus strategies

The economic slowdown is impacting global organic food sales. After reporting high growth rates for over a decade, 2009 could be the first year of single-digit market growth says Organic Monitor in a recent press release.

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According to Organic Monitor, growth in the global organic food market is slowing because of the financial crisis. Demand has been affected by the reduction in consumer spending power and declining industry investment. The UK market has been the most adversely affected, with just 2% growth reported in 2008.

Some argue it is difficult to increase organic food sales in the current economic climate because of the price premium. Rising consumer expectations is another factor. Consumers are demanding more from organic food products; they are increasingly looking at ethical sourcing, traceability, the carbon footprint, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Certification agencies are responding to the growing sophistication of the organic food market by integrating aspects of sustainability into their standards. IMO and Ecocert have introduced fairtrade standards that complement organic production methods. The EcoSocial standard of the Biodynamic Institute in Brazil which covers biodiversity, is gaining popularity in Latin America. Others like Soil Association are looking at reducing the environmental impact of organic food products.

In conclusion, 2009 brings fresh challenges to the organic food industry. The global economic slowdown coupled with changing consumer behaviour is affecting organic food sales. Food companies and retailers need to re-align their organic product ranges to meet rising consumer expectations. With consumers increasingly looking at sustainability, companies are advised to follow the ‘bioneers’ and adopt organic plus strategies.

Case studies of companies who have successfully implemented such strategies will be given at the Sustainable Foods Summit. Companies & organisations participating at the summit include EOSTA, Canaan Fair Trade, Tradin (SunOpta), Nature & More, IMO, IBD, Soil Association, FLO, Earthoil, AgroFair and others.

Source: Press release Organic Monitor of May 29, 2009: Global Organic Market: Time for Organic Plus Strategies

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