During the Corona crisis, organic products were searched like never before. The boom has subsided. However, in the face of new crises, the industry shows resilience and offers solutions for the future.
Despite inflation and reluctance to buy, organic food is still in demand – good news for Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir.
“Organic, with a whole and sustainable value chain, is one of the key responses to our planetary crisis,” said a Green politician on Tuesday at the opening of the world’s largest organic food fair Biofach in Nuremberg. Now the task is to further develop the market.
Local raw materials and sustainable packaging
Almost 2,300 exhibitors from over 90 countries will present their new products by Friday at Biofach and the parallel Vivaness natural cosmetics fair. According to the organizers, this year’s trends include climate-friendly products, local raw materials, sustainable packaging and vegan cosmetics. Due to the pandemic, the crowns postponed the market duo from February to July.
The organic sector has been less affected by the overall decline in sales in the food industry this year, said Tina Andres, chairwoman of Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW). In the first five months of 2022, consumers spent 35 percent. more on organic fresh produce than in the corresponding period of 2019 – i.e. before the pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, the organic sector grew particularly strongly as more people cooked at home and bought organic food during the Corona crisis. Consequently, BÖLW specifies 2019 as the reference year.
increase in sales volumes
The increase in sales is mainly due to an increase in sales volume, and to a lesser extent from price developments, Andres said. Organic prices have also risen, but about 5 percent less than conventional food, where the plus is around 8 percent.
Nevertheless, the overall increase in the cost of living also has an impact on the consumer behavior of organic consumers: they are now more likely to choose inexpensive private labels or buy at discounters, explained Agriculture Minister Özdemir. However, according to Özdemir, the increase in fertilizer and pesticide costs will have a much less impact on organic farming than on conventional farming.
In view of the climate crisis, the transition to greener farming must be accelerated, demanded BÖLW and Organics International (IFOAM), the international association of organic farming movements. 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are caused by agriculture, of which 25 percent are caused by the use of chemical fertilizers, said IFOAM managing director Louise Luttikholt. Organic farming makes production independent of imports and changes in the world market and is more resistant to the climate crisis. “Now is the time to continue working to change the agricultural situation.”
enlarged organic areas
Andres said the federal government’s goal of organically cultivating 30 percent of the land by 2030 can only be achieved with better funding. According to BÖLW data, the organic farming area in Germany grew by almost 5 percent last year to almost 1.78 million hectares – almost 11 percent of the German agricultural area. To meet the 30 percent target, 12 percent of the ecological surface area would have to be added each year, Andres said. “Currently, financing is sufficient for 3 percent. more by 2027 “
“I understand the industry is impatient to make faster progress by 30 percent,” said Özdemir. But it’s also important that something smart will eventually come out of it. The goal is also to dedicate 30 percent of the research budget to organic farming in the future and use at least 20 percent of organic food in federal administration canteens by 2025. In agricultural policy, the EU will work to ensure that in the future, direct payments will reward environmental and climate protection. (dpa)