The shops are still doing plenty of business – the Christmas trade is in full swing and will make 2014 another good year for the organic industry. The festive season and the period before the turn of the year are always a good time to look back and, time and again, you can’t quite believe what a lot has happened over the last twelve months. What are the good memories and the not so good – what is already out of sight and out of mind? Have a look with us at the most important events and organic issues of 2014 in the German and international organic industry. We hope you enjoy the Christmas holiday and we wish you every success and all the best in 2015!
(Picture: Demo “We’ve had enough”: the organic industry and consumers are saying more and more emphatically what they will not put up with.)
If we look at the markets in Europe and worldwide, the picture is positive across the board. In the Netherlands, according to estimates by the umbrella organization Bionext, the turnover of organic food rose in 2013 to €1.07bn. Bavo van den Idsert, the director of Bionext, puts overall growth at 6-8 % and in the wholefood trade at 9 %. In France (picture) – in contrast to Germany – the area of organically managed land and the number of organic farmers rose substantially, and we saw an increase in turnover to €4.59bn.
Italy experienced an increase in both organic land area (5.4 %) and in turnover – in the first five months of 2014 growth was, according to the consumer panel Ismea GFK-Eurisko, a whopping 17 %. In the first half year, Sweden broke all records with growth of 30 %. Total turnover in 2013 amounted to the equivalent of approximately €1.3bn. Even in Great Britain we see a growth curve – for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008: according to the Soil Association, the market grew by 2.8 % to €2.16bn. There was a jump in growth in the US Market from 4bn to 35.1bn US dollars in 2013, which in terms of sales was a rise of 11.5 %. In the case of individual product groups like fruit and vegetables, every tenth dollar is already a bio-dollar.
Market development: Germany continues to be Europe’s biggest organic market. The discrepancy between rising demand and good growth rates in the organic trade on the one hand and the sluggish growth of domestic production on the other has continued to be acute. Expressed in figures: the total turnover of organic prducts in Germany rose from 2013 to 2014 by 7.2 % to €7.55bn. In contrast, organically managed land grew by only 2.5 % to 1.06m ha and, unfortunately, this unsatisfactory trend is continuing. The performance of theGerman wholefood trade was outstanding in 2013 with growth in turnover of 10.5 % to €2.5bn, and development in the current year is in the same vein, as confirmed by the turnover barometer of the management consultancy Kommunikationsberatung Klaus Braun that reveals that, compared with the same period last year, turnover rose in the first 9 months of 2014 by 8.4 %.
In 2013, almost 50,000 m2 of new retail area were created in the specialist trade, and in 2014 as well the chains in particular continued their ongoing programme of opening new stores. Demand is assured. A pleasing phenomenon is the younger generation showing itself to be keener and keener on buying organics, with the veggie and vegan trend at the same time stimulating product development and the turnover of the wholefood and health food retail trade.
Natural cosmetics: alongside organic food, it’s mainly natural cosmetics that generate sales – and the demand for them is growing worldwide. In 2014, controlled cosmetics made a disproportionately high contribution to the growth of the overall market in Germany. Whereas estimates by the German cosmetics industry association IKW point to a rise in turnover of personal care products and cosmetics of only 1.6 % to over €13bn, natural and organic cosmetics experienced record growth of 14 % from October 2013 to September 2014.
The market share of controlled natural cosmetics is already above 7 % in Germany (2013: €920m). A factor influencing this continuing positive development is value-oriented demand generated by an expanding group of consumers who are committed to a responsible, sustainable lifestyle and shop accordingly. A GfK study commissioned by Natrue revealed that more and more female consumers want to know what ingredients their cosmetics contain. They are much better informed than in the past.
(Picture: The graphic shows the respectable market share of controlled natural cosmetics in the overall cosmetics market)
The number of actors in the industry who attended the large number of trade fairs for professional visitors and the general public that focused on organic, plus industry events this year, may well have exceeded 100,000. Activities ranged from BioFach/ Vivaness, that celebrated their 25th anniversary, the four regional organic fairs and company fairs organized by wholefood wholesalers to some events that were not devoted exclusively to organics but attracted high visitor numbers, an example being the Slow-Food fair or the FairMesse in Dortmund. The international natural textiles trade fair Innatex also attracted many visitors.
Politics/EU: for three years, Bio-Markt.Info was involved in the EU project Organic-Data-Network, that has devised a concept for harmonising organic market data and agricultural data. EU politicians and the national organic associations continued to address the total revision of the EU Organic Regulation as planned by the EU. Here too Bio-Markt.Info was on the ball and kept its readers up-to-date, an example being the recent report direct from Brussels.
(Picture: Helga Willer, FibL Switzerland, presenting the online database at the IFOAM Conference in Istanbul)
Topics that have an impact on many countries are the Free Trade Agreement TTIP, large-scale contamination with the pesticide glyphosate and the perennial issue of genetic engineering, that has again become a political issue in the USA, with referendums being held in the federal states. Industry is pumping millions into marketing campaigns to secure a vote that will prevent the labelling of genetically modified food. Also, the counting of votes has apparently been manipulated. There was huge interest in our article on glyphosate – “Glyphosate: poisoning on a global scale” – that was printed in both the Spanish magazine Ecoticias and the Taiwanese magazine Organic Lifestyle. (Pictures: Lots of protests against TTIP and glyphosate in Europe, especially in Germany)