Organic foods in demand, despite recession

by Editor
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

World demand for organic foods is expected to grow by 46% over the five years ending 2012, despite the world economic crisis. This outlook is contained in a United Nations Trade and Development Agency (UNCTAD) report.

World sales from certified organic products are expected to reach $67 billion in 2012, up from $46 billion in 2007 and about $23 billion in 2002.

Some specialist organic retailers are experiencing consumer resistance to paying more for organics.

But UNCTAD says many consumers have weighed the higher cost of organic food against its benefits - and they've decided organic foods are worth the extra cost.

Australian organic producers are recording record sales in many markets, with meat and dairy produce leading the way. Australian Certified Organic meat wholesaler Cleavers The Organic Meat Company, for instance, has just recorded its highest ever sales season for organic lamb.

Organic lamb wholesalers have reported a sales jump of more than 20% over the past two months.

Similarly, Alister Ferguson, national sales manager for the Australian Organic Meat Company says Australian consumers are staying loyal to organic beef.

Organic produce is attracting a much wider demographic than previously seen - and this is highlighting the need for more farmers to start supplying organic. Because organic certification takes three years, there is a very present need for new farm recruits to organic farming, UNCTAD says.

This is one area of the marketplace where there is still shopper resistance to organic produce if there is a perceived excessive price difference between organic and conventional products.

In the developing countries, the increasing number of organic food consumers has a knock-on benefit for the prospects for farmers, UNCTAD says. Increased organic production and export opportunities offers them a real lifeline to the future, it says.