The organic fruit market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Scandinavian organic food industry and while other sectors are approaching maturity, this sector continues to show robust growth. These are the findings from a report by UK market analysts Organic Monitor.
According to the study, market revenues for organic fruit have been increasing by over 40 per cent per annum since 1997 to reach €40 million in 2001. In Denmark, organic fruit has been widely available to Danish consumers since the mid 1990s yet its market share remains very small, estimated at 1.5 per cent of the fruit market in 2001.
The highest growth is observed in Sweden and Finland. Consumer demand for organic fruit in Finland is increasing at a rapid rate with some Finnish supermarkets reporting sales increases of over 100 per cent in 2001. Organic fruit was introduced to Finnish retailers at a later stage and the market continues to grow from a small base. In spite of high demand for organic foods in Finland, the number of organic farmers dropped from 5,225 to 4,915 in 2001, the report continues.
Although Scandinavia has the highest percentage of organic farmland in Europe, almost no organic fruit is grown in the region. Unfavourable weather conditions and high standards for organic fruit production deter fruit growers from converting to organic agriculture. Most organic fruit is imported from southern Europe with many tropical varieties originating from Latin America.
The report adds that the organic exotic category is projected to show the highest growth in the region as the supermarkets continue to broaden their organic fruit range.