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Young Germans increase organic food purchases

By Caroline Scott-Thomas+

22-Aug-2013

Younger consumers increasingly are driving organic food sales in Germany, according to new figures from the German ministry of food, agriculture and consumer protection (BMELV).

Among under-30s, the proportion of those frequently buying organic food increased 9 percentage points over the past year, to reach 23%, according to the representative "Ökobarometer" survey of more than 1,000 shoppers aged 15 and over. Overall, 22% of respondents said they frequently or exclusively bought organic food, while more than half (52%) said they bought it occasionally.

Federal Minister Ilse Aigner said:"Organic is still extremely popular,”adding that quality and taste were driving factors, as well as a perception that the production and processing involved with organics was more sustainable. The most popular organically produced foods were fruit and vegetables, followed by eggs, potatoes, dairy products and bread.

While younger consumers’ purchases of organic foods have increased, the opposite trend was seen among older consumers. The proportion of those aged 50-59 who never bought organic food increased 9 percentage points in the past year, while the increase was 8 percentage points among over-60s. The proportion of those aged 50-59 who frequently bought organic food was still higher than that among younger consumers, however, at 26%.

Three-quarters of those surveyed also said they would pay a higher price for locally sourced food – and this preference for local, fairly priced food has been backed by the German government. In 2014, the federal government aims to increase incentives for organic farming, to help local farmers meet strong local demand.

The survey suggested that three quarters of those who preferred local foods also sought organic foods.

"People want quality and sustainable products from their home, and we encourage this trend as the federal government," said Aigner.  "…Traditionally, organic has regional roots, and for many customers it is good value. Besides sustainability, it plays an important role in strengthening rural areas. It must be the goal to produce as much local organic produce as possible, thus also avoiding long transport routes.”

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