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Global Economy

Market for organic products continues to grow

It smells good in the natural food store Lotos in Nuremberg. Here not only fruit, vegetables, fresh bread and milk are sold, but also cooked with the products on offer. Sweet potato and white cabbage curry with quinoa is on the menu today, but also whole grain quiche and vegan burgers with tofu or unripe spelled. According to Ulrike Wolf's experience, more and more customers are asking for meat substitutes. "Oat milk is also very good," she says. "Thank God they're now available fresh in returnable bottles."

Many farmers want to change

Especially in the Corona year 2020, the demand in the Nuremberg organic shop has increased. Across Germany it was a whopping 22 percent plus. The growth of the organic market was no longer quite as dynamic in 2021. Consumers bought around 16 million euros, which is an increase of almost six percent.

More than 17,000 companies process or package organic food – including the catering trade. Their number has grown by 24 percent in just six years. In addition, according to a survey by the German Farmers' Association, every fifth farmer wants to switch to organic. "Society is ready," says Tina Andres, chairwoman of the Federal Organic Food Industry (BÖLW).

Demand for the "nutrition transition"

From their point of view, the ball is now in politics. You have to set the course, says Andres. "The energy transition must now be followed by a nutritional transition," she said at a hybrid press conference. "Why do we afford 300 million euros for nutrition-related diseases every day instead of healthy nutrition for everyone in Germany?" said Andres. "The answer is very clear: the political framework is not right."

According to the association, the organic area in Germany is growing too slowly. Currently, the organically farmed area is 1.78 hectares or almost eleven percent. However, the new federal government wants to achieve 30 percent by 2030 – a tripling. According to BÖLW chairman Andres, this can be done – but only with more effort than before. From now on, twelve percent of farmers would have to switch to organic every year.

Expensive electricity, expensive raw materials

Farmers who are willing to convert need more support than before, according to the organic national association. More money must be put into the system in order to create a real system change. Organic farmers are currently suffering primarily from high energy and raw material costs. For example, there is a shortage of animal feed, explains market analyst Diana Schaack. The profit that animal owners are currently making through the increased demand for organic meat is melting away. Schaack says consumers will soon feel the effects of the higher prices. "Higher prices are the topic of the year."

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