The European organic market grew by 3.8% in 2021 to be worth EUR 54.5 billion. While this represents an overall slowing of retail sales growth, some individual countries continued to deliver strong growth – for example, Estonia (+21 percent) and Luxembourg (+15.3 percent). Over the same period, organic farmland across Europe expanded by almost 0.8 million hectares.
The figures are contained in the 2023 edition of The World of Organic Agriculture report, which was launched on the opening day of this year’s Biofach trade show in Nuremberg. The report is complied and published annually by FiBL and IFOAM Organics International.
In 2021, 17.8 million hectares of farmland in Europe were organic (in the European Union: 15.6 million hectares). With almost 2.8 million hectares, France continued to be the number one country in terms of farmland under organic management, followed by Spain (2.6 million hectares), Italy (2.2 million hectares) and Germany (1.8 million hectares).
Organic farmland increased by almost 0.8 million hectares
Organic farmland increased by almost 0.8 million hectares, which represented an increase of 5.2 percent in the European Union and 4.4 percent in Europe. This increase was slightly lower than in 2020. Compared to 2020, France and Spain reported an increase of 0.23 million hectares and 0.20 million hectares, respectively.
Liechtenstein had the highest organic share of the total farmland in the world
In 2021, organic farmland in Europe constituted 3.6 percent of the total agricultural land. It was 9.6 percent in the European Union. In Europe (and globally), Liechtenstein had the highest organic area share (40.2 percent), followed by Austria, the country with the highest organic share (26.5 percent) in the European Union. Fifteen European countries reported that at least 10 percent of their farmland was organic.
Organic producers, processors and importers
There were more than 440,000 organic producers in Europe and almost 380,000 in the European Union. Italy had the highest number (75,874).
There were 87’676 processors in Europe and 82’500 in the European Union; 7’590 importers were counted in Europe and 6’378 in the European Union. The country with the largest number of processors was Italy (nearly 24‘000), while Germany had the most importers (more than 2’000).
Retail sales reached 54.5 billion euros
Retail sales in Europe were valued at 54.5 billion euros (46.7 billion in the European Union). The largest market was Germany (15.9 billion euros). The European Union represented the second-largest single market for organic products globally after the United States (48.6 billion euros).
European consumers spent more on organic food
In 2021, consumers in Europe spent 65.7 euros on organic food per person on average (European Union: 104.3 euros). Consumer spending on organic food per capita doubled in the decade 2012-2021. In 2021, Swiss and Danish consumers spent the most on organic food (425 and 384 euros per capita, respectively).
Denmark had the highest organic market share in the world
Globally, European countries accounted for the highest share of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets. Denmark had the highest share worldwide, with 13.0 percent in 2021, followed by Austria with a share of 11.6 percent and Luxembourg with 11.0 percent.
Slower growth of retail sales in 2021
In 2021, the European market achieved a growth rate of 3.8 percent (European Union: 3.6 percent). The highest growth was observed in Estonia (+21 percent) and Luxembourg (+15.3 percent), the only countries with double-digit growth in 2021. The pandemic continued to sustain organic markets in many European countries in 2021, but not to the same extent as in 2020, when the market grew by 15 percent.
In 2022, increasing prices for consumer goods cut food spending among some groups. The 2022 data will show the impact on the organic marke