The global market for organic foods is expected to expand by 23 per cent in 2001 to reach US $26 billion. Speaking at Food Ingredients Europe in London, Mr. Amarjit Sahota, founder of Organic Monitor, stated that according to conservative projections, global sales are to approach US $80 billion in 2008.
The highest market growth has been observed in Europe this year. Market revenues are forecast to expand by a third in 2001 to reach US $12 billion due to high growth in the principal markets of Germany, Italy, France and the UK.
In all these countries, except the UK, high growth has been due to organic foods migrating from specialist to mainstream marketing channels. The entry of the supermarkets is widening availability of organic foods, and coupled with raised consumer interest, sales are increasing at a rapid rate.
The US market is also showing high growth in 2001 and it represents the majority of the North American US $9.7 billion revenues. The US and Canadian markets have been given a lift by the introduction of formal national standards for organic production in the last year. High growth is forecast as consumer awareness of organic foods continues to rise in the region.
Japan has the third largest market for organic foods after the EU and the US and it accounts for the bulk of Asian market revenues. High growth is being observed in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, however these markets remain a fraction of the size of the Japanese market.
Oceania, which accounts for almost a half of global organic farmland, has a market for organic foods that is estimated to be worth US $190 million. There is over 7.6 million hectares of organic farmland in the continent and most of the organic food production is for export markets.
Mr. Sahota expects most of the increase in organic farmland to occur in developing countries in the future. He states that an increasing number of developing countries are looking at organic farming as a viable form of sustainable agriculture, and their governments are attracted to the economic benefits of organic production.
The organic food industry is forecast to continue to show high growth in the coming years, however it faces many challenges. Mr. Sahota commented, 'Major challenges the industry faces are certification fragmentation, preventing fraudulent business practices, protection of the price premium, and affirming the role of the government during industry development.'