A key target market is northern Germany, including the major city of Hamburg, given its close proximity to southern Denmark where the bulk of Danish organic farms are located.
Ejvind Pedersen, chief adviser at the Danish Agriculture and Food Council (DAFC), commented to GlobalMeatNews: “Northern Germany is the local market for the south of Denmark,” adding that increasing organic meat exports to the region as a “kind of a local food from Denmark” made sense. But the industry needs to increase organic production to tap into this nearby market, he said, because Danish slaughterhouses were already struggling to meet a growing demand for organic meat in Denmark and abroad.
Quoting data from Danmarks Statistik, Denmark’s statistics organisation, Pedersen said total Danish organic pork exports have been growing steadily overall. Total organic pork exports in 2010 were worth DKK108m ($16.2m), but by 2014 had risen to DKK189m ($28.4m), he said.
Demand for organic meat in Germany is growing, according to London-based market research firm Organic Monitor, which said the country’s organic meat sales had increased around 8% to 14% per year for the past four years. Denmark apart, Germany also imports organic pork and beef from the Netherlands and France, Organic Monitor noted.
According to Diana Schaack, a market analyst at the Germany-based Agricultural Market Information Company (AMI - Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft), “nearly one fourth of the pork meat to Germany comes from the Netherlands and Denmark and also Austria”. Schaack told GlobalMeatNews the demand for “organic beef is rising in Germany and imports of processing meat has been increasingly driven by a tremendous demand for minced meat”.
In an effort to meet this growing demand, Danish organic pork company Friland AS started to offer cash support to farmers to increase organic pig rearing in May last year. Friland allocated DKK2m ($300,000) for grants to farmers increasing their numbers of organic sows, a company statement said, adding that a supplier gets DKK1,000 ($150) per sow when expanding the production with at least 25 new sows.
A study published last week (October 3), said there was potential for Danish exporters, concluding Germans are “largely unfamiliar” with Danish organics. “This has consequences for the Danish export strategy for the German market,” said Professor John Thøgersen from the school of business and social science at Denmark’s Aarhus University, which led the research. Germans in Munich (south) prefer organics from Austria and consumers in Münster (west) go for Dutch brands, he noted. Meanwhile, consumers in Hamburg have a weaker preference for Danish organic products, he said, “although it’s slightly stronger than further south”.