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New Zealand Organic Market Report 2012

The New Zealand Organic Market Report 2012 is the latest in a series of reports quantifying and describing the New Zealand organic sector. It provides the results of a census of organic product exporters, information from organic certifiers as well as surveys of the domestic market. It also includes case studies on some organic sectors and other recent sector developments. The report was commissioned by the peak organic sector organisation – Organics Aotearoa New Zealand Inc (OANZ). The text below is taken from the executive summary of the report.


Cover organic market report 2012

The number of organic enterprises are growing rapidly in New Zealand: In 2012 there were 1,221 licensees and 1,765 licensed certified organic operations in New Zealand – an increase of 6.6 percent and 24.6 percent respectively since 2009 and a 42 and 46 percent increase since 2007.

The organic land area is growing in New Zealand: From 2007 to 2012 the total land area under certification has increased by 67 percent (13.4 percent per annum). In the ten years from 2002 to 2012 the total land area under certification has increased by 128 percent (12.8 percent per annum). The total land area under organic certification in 2012 was 106,753 hectares. However, this represents a decline from the 124,463 hectares under certification in 2009.

Organic vineyards/horticulture are growing steadily in New Zealand: By 2012 there were over 100 vineyards growing grapes organically, representing 7.6 percent of all grapevines. The growers’ association, Organic Winegrowers New Zealand, has declared a goal of raising that figure to 20 percent by the year 2020. Organic grapes are the fastest growing section of organic horticulture, which saw a total increase in land area (including grapes) of 37 percent between 2009 and 2012, to 11,188 hectares.

Organic livestock production is growing in value in New Zealand: The land area under organic livestock production was 92,522 hectares in 2012 – a 14.8 percent decline since 2009. However, this appears to have been due to the loss of a few less productive properties, as the value of dairy, meat and wool has increased over this period.

Organic exports from New Zealand are growing in value:

  • Organic product exports were between NZ$ 215* and NZ$225m in value in 2012 – approximately a 25 percent increase since 2009.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are still the most important product category by value, accounting for more than NZ$ 96m (45 percent ) of total exports. (However this is a decrease in their proportional contribution to New Zealand organic exports, from 50 percent in 2009 and 73 percent in 2007).
  • Dairy products continue to be the second largest export category. The value of organic dairy exports has grown 33 percent since 2009.
  • Processed foods and ingredients have grown 45 percent since 2009. The processed food and ingredients category now includes the largest number of export market participants of any category of this study.
  • Organic beverages, wine and beer have grown 70 percent in value since 2009.
  • Meat and wool have grown in export value by 11 percent since 2009, with a number of new participants entering this field.
  • Organic honey exports have experienced a slight reduction in value since 2009.
  • The value of exports in the ‘other’ category has grown by 144 percent by value since 2009.

Organic export markets are expanding: Europe, North America and Australia continue to be the sector’s primary export destinations, together comprising 70 percent of all exports. However there has been significant growth in the export value to Asia with exports to Korea rising from 8 to 11 percent of total exports, while those to China increased from less than 1 percent in 2009 to 2.6 percent in 2012. Exports to other Asian countries, apart from Japan, doubled in value to $12.5m – 6 percent of total organic exports.

The domestic market for organics is growing: Estimates for the value of the domestic market for certified organic products range from NZ$ 126m to  NZ 133m. Sales in 2012 of non-fresh organic products in supermarkets increased by 26.8 percent over 2009 figures, with a 7.5 percent increase from 2011, while sales of organic products in speciality retail shops were worth approximately $25.5m – almost twice as much as what they were worth just three years previously.

The total value of organics is growing: The total value of the organic sector in New Zealand is estimated to be between  NZ$ 340- NZ$360 million. This figure is based on the combined value of exports of organic products from New Zealand and the retail sales of organic products within New Zealand. The value of the organic sector in New Zealand has grown about 25 percent since 2009.

Consumer take-up of non-food organic products is growing: Colmar Brunton's 'Better Business' annual survey of New Zealanders’ attitudes and behaviours around sustainability shows a mainstreaming of environmental and social concerns. This is a reflection of what is happening in other parts of the world, as growing numbers of people become more aware of what goes into their body and onto their skin, especially when considering infants and young children. The New Zealand organic sector is set to benefit from these trends. Purchase of organic products has grown beyond food and drink to include personal care products and even pet food. That said, price and accessibility are key barriers for many consumers. Purchasing can be limited to a set of particular products or considered a bit of a luxury that is infrequent and occasion-based. Qualitative research undertaken to explore general public impressions of 'organics' also highlights a lack of understanding of organics, and what is for some people a sense of distance driven by impressions of organics being for the well-off or for a 'select club' of initiates who are in the know.

* 1.6045 New Zealand Dollars (NZ$) corresponded to 1 euro in 2012 (European Central Bank)


Download New Zealand Organic Market Report 2012 (1.5 MB)


Jon Manhire
The AgriBusiness Group Ltd
P.O Box 4354

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