‘Unprecedented growth’ propels global organic market to €120 billion 

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Worldwide organic retail sales grew by €14 billion in 2020, according to new data released today by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International. This “unprecedented growth” saw the global organic market exceed the €120 billion mark for the first time.

The figures are contained in the 2022 edition of the annual World of Organic Agriculture survey, which was launched at an online event staged by the organiser of the Biofach trade show. 

Highest growth ever
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the global market for organic food showed its highest growth ever in 2020, exceeding €120 billion – a total increase of €14 billion. 

The United States continued to be the leading market (€49.5 billion), followed by Germany (€15 billion) and France (€12.7 billion). In 2020, many major markets showed extraordinarily strong growth rates; the German market, for example, grew by an astonishing 22%. Swiss consumers spent the most on organic food (€418 euros per capita in 2020), and Denmark continued to have the highest organic market share, with 13% of its total food market. 

In 2020, many major markets showed extraordinarily strong growth rates; the German market, for example, grew by an astonishing 22%

The global COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant increase in demand for organic products in many countries, but there were also challenges: “The effects of the pandemic are visible in retail sales data. As people stayed home and began to cook more often and health, environment and climate change have become big issues, organic retail sales increased rapidly. However, at the same time, in the food service sales decreased in many countries”, says Helga Willer, group lead project communication at FiBL. 

3.4 million organic producers worldwide
In 2020, 3.4 million organic producers were reported, an increase of 7.6% compared to 2019. India continued to be the country with the most organic producers (1.6 million). The majority of small-scale producers are certified in groups based on an internal control system. 

Steady increase of organic farmland
Almost 75 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2020, representing a growth of 4.1% or 3 million hectares compared to 2019. Australia had the largest organic agricultural area (35.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (4.5 million hectares) and Uruguay (2.7 million hectares). Organic area increased across all continents in 2020. Half of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (35.9 million hectares). Europe had the second largest area (17.1 million hectares), followed by Latin America (9.9 million hectares). 

10% or more of farmland is organic in 18 countries
In 2020, just 1.6% of farmland around the world was organic. However, many countries have far higher shares: Liechtenstein had the largest organic share of total farmland (41.6%), followed by Austria (26.5%) and Estonia (22.4%). In 18 countries, 10% or more of all agricultural land is organic. 

Global organic data shows ongoing engagement with transparency in the organic sector
“Global organic statistics have proven useful for international development cooperation programs and supporting strategies for organic agriculture and markets, and they are crucial for monitoring the impact of these activities. This publication shows our ongoing engagement with transparency in the organic sector”, says Louise Luttikholt, executive director of IFOAM – Organics International. 

Knut Schmidtke, director of research, extension & innovation at FiBL Switzerland, adds: “Organic agriculture secures our future and does so worldwide: the Yearbook underlines the international importance of organic agriculture for a sustainable as well as climate-adapted food policy and reflects people’s trust in organically produced food.” 

The World of Organic Agriculture – How to order/download
The book can be ordered (30 euros + postage; affiliates of IFOAM – Organics International: 20 euros) or downloaded from the FiBL shop (item number 1344). Graphs and infographics can be downloaded at Organic-World.net.

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