Organic products in the EU market

Integration of organic products in the EU market – Which countries have the largest share, which lag behind and which product is the most popular in demand!

Organic farming is a fast-growing sector of EU agriculture, as a direct result of the growing consumer interest in organic products.

But what is organic farming?

Organic farming presupposes the production of agricultural products in a more ecological and animal-friendly way, in order to ensure:

  • responsible use of energy and natural resources
  • maintenance of biodiversity
  • preservation of regional ecological balances
  • enhancement of soil fertility
  • maintenance of water quality

What is the EU’s ranking on global consumption of organic products?

In 2017, the global organic food and drink market reached EUR 92 billion. The US accounts for 47 % of the global market, followed by the EU, with 37 % (EUR 34.3 billion). Over the last ten years, the EU market doubled its size and it continues growing at a significant pace (11 % in 2017 compared to 2016), indicating that it has not yet reached its maturity stage. Ποιες χώρες της ΕΕ συνιστούν τις μεγαλύτερες αγορές βιολογικών προϊόντων;

The penetration of organic food products varies significantly between countries. The largest EU markets for organic are Germany, with 10 billion EUR (5.1 % organic in total retail sales), and France, with 7.9 billion EUR (4.4 %). The French organic retail market is a good example of a country where organic has overcome its introduction stage and has now earned its place. Consumers have become more environmentally aware and organic sales increase significantly (18 % in 2017).

Which EU countries have the highest organic integration?

In spite of the already high shares, organic integration in Denmark and Sweden continues, with a respective growth of 15 % and 9 % in 2017 compared to the previous year. Denmark is with 13.3 % the country with the highest integration of organic worldwide.

Over the last years, consumers in Denmark and Sweden have been showing a great commitment to high profile food and a growing interest on getting to know the production methods and origins of what they eat.

Likewise, the organic share in Austria pursued its growth in 2017 by 12 % to reach 8.6 % of retail sales.

Which EU countries have the lowest organic integration?

A lower integration of organic products is observed in a number of other countries, including Spain (2.8 %) and Italy (3.2 %). Eastern European and Baltic countries also show a below average uptake of organic with 0.9 % in the Czech Republic, 2.6 % in Estonia, 1.5 % in Latvia and 1 % in Lithuania.

 In these countries, organic is still at an early development stage and demand has not yet fully emerged. Growth of the sector is nevertheless slightly above average in Spain and Italy at respectively 16 % and 8 % in 2017, which is an indication that organic consumption is taking off.

This growing demand for organic is also well reflected in the annual per capita expenditure, which averaged EUR 67 in 2017, compared to EUR 29 in 2007.

Which product dominates organic retail sales in the EU market?

Organic eggs dominate organic retail sales

The market shares of specific organic food products provide useful information to assess consumption trends more in detail. Here again, different preferences emerge in different countries.

Eggs have the highest retail market share in organic within the EU, with an exceptionally high penetration in some countries: 33 % in Denmark, 30 % in France, 22 % in Austria and 21 % in Germany. The growth rate remains high.

On the other hand, organic does not appear to take off as quickly in further food products, such as beverages (excluding wine) and meat. However, with regard to organic meat, despite a relatively low market share in most EU countries, retail sales indicate a high growth, up to 12 % in Italy and 13 % in the UK.

Penetration rates are also particularly low (1 % or less) in a range of processed food products, such as savoury snacks, sweet biscuits and confectionary, frozen food, sauces and ready meals.