The results of an independent survey, commissioned by researchers from the Department of International Marketing and Retailing at the University of Lodz, identified several motivating factors – as well as barriers – that are fueling sales of organic food in Poland.
Surveying 1000 residents aged 15 - 65 in a representative sample of Polish consumers for age, sex, education and urban/rural distribution, the researchers found that overall almost 70% (68.6%) purchase organic food.
This includes 7% of respondents who buy organic food very often while almost one quarter (23.8%) said they do so ‘quite often’ and 37.8% report average frequency.
In line with purchasing motivations among consumers from other European nations, Poles said the healthiness of organic food was the most important factor, cited by more than three-quarters (76.5%) while 60% said they associated organic food with high quality.
“The results of our study justify underlining health properties and high quality of organic food in marketing communications and building trust of consumers to this type of food,” writes author Paweł Bryła.
Price remains the biggest barrier when marketing organic food to Poles. However, the survey found that Polish consumers are willing to pay 17.4% more for organic products than for their conventional counterparts.
The most popular categories for organic purchases were fruit and vegetables (69.1% of respondents) and honey (58.9%).
One of the lowest shares was for ready-made dishes which accounted for just 17% of the organic food purchases of those surveyed, but Euromonitor data shows that the value of Poland's organic packaged food sector has more than doubled since 2010 and in 2015 had a year-on-year growth rate of 6.4%. last year it was worth $61.3 m (€55.8 m).
According to a 2014 report by the Swiss-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the Polish market for organic products shows “slow but stable growth” and many processed products are imported because the national processing industry is still its infancy.
Nevertheless, earlier this year Mintel pointed to Poland as a hub for European food and drink innovation, and its new product gallery featured some organic brands. The market research company picked out local start-up Raw and Happy which recently launched Gryczanki, organic buckwheat snacks that are raw, gluten-free and contain no refined sugars.
Food and drink analyst at Mintel, Honorata Jarocka, told FoodNavigator at the time the surge in product innovation was being fuelled by increasing numbers of
Poles travelling abroad on a regular basis both for work and pleasure as they learnt of new cuisines and cooking styles and were then interested in recreating foreign recipes when back home.
According to Euromonitor, organic beverages in Poland are dominated by local players. In 2015 Bio Food was the market leader with a value share of 20%, followed by Symbio Polska and PPUH Tlocznia Maurer ranking second and third with value shares of 18% and 11% respectively. “Due to the niche nature of this category, large international players did not actively focus on products in this area over the review period,” it said.
Skawina-headquartered company Grana produces beverages made from cereals, such as barley, spelt, rye and barley malt or roots such as chicory, dandelion and Jerusalem artichoke, and was showcasing its BarleyCup and ChicoryCup organic range at the Natural & Organic Products Show in London earlier this year.
“Organic food consumption in Poland: Motives and barriers”
Available online ahead of print, vol. 105, pp 737–746 doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.012
Author: Paweł Bryła