European organic market grew at its fastest rate in a decade in 2020

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The European organic market grew at its fastest rate in a decade in 2022, according to new data released by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International.

The 2022 edition of the annual World of Organic Agriculture survey, launched at an online event staged today by the organiser of Biofach, shows that organic retail sales in Europe grew by 15% in 2022 to be worth €52 billion. It means that the European Union (at €44.8 billion) is the second largest single market for organic products globally after the United States (€ 49.5 billion).

Among the key markets, the highest growth was observed in Germany (22.3 percent), making its total organic market worth € 14.99 billion. In 2020, the organic markets in many countries delivered double-digit growth as there pandemic forced people to stay at home, and many people cooked more often. The importance to many people of health, environment and climate change was also amplified during the period. 

The report’s authors note that if the trend continues, production and processing will need to keep pace.

In Europe, consumers spent € 63.3 on organic food per person annually (European Union: € 101.8). Per capita, consumer spending on organic food has doubled in the last decade. In 2020, Swiss and Danish consumers spent the most on organic food (€ 418 and € 384 per capita, respectively).

Denmark retains global number one ranking
Globally, European countries account for the highest shares of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets. Denmark has the highest organic food sales share worldwide, with 13.0 percent in 2020, followed by Austria with a share of 11.3 percent and Switzerland with 10.3 percent.

France now hosts the largest amount of organic farm land
In 2020, 17.1 million hectares of farmland in Europe were organic (European Union: 14.9 million hectares). With almost 2.5 million hectares, France became the new number one country in terms of farmland under organic management, followed by Spain (2.4 million hectares), Italy (2.1 million hectares) and Germany (1.7 million hectares).

In the EU, more than half of organic land is concentrated in just four countries: France, Spain, Italy and Germany. France now hosts the largest organic agricultural area (2.5 million ha) – followed by Spain and Italy (with respectively 2.4 and 2.1 million ha).

Organic producers, processors and importers: Modest growth
There were almost 420,000 organic producers in Europe and almost 350,000 in the European Union. Italy had the largest number (71,590).

There were 84’799 processors in Europe and over 78’000 in the European Union. Over 6’800 importers were counted in Europe and almost 5‘800 in the European Union. The country with the largest number of processors was Italy (nearly 23‘000), while Germany had the most importers (more than 1’900).

  • FiBL and AMI conducted the survey on organic farming in Europe. The FiBL data collection was carried out in the framework of the global survey on organic farming supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Coop Sustainability Fund, NürnbergMesse and IFOAM – Organics International.

Main image: FiBL/IFOAM – Organics International