Trade Team check out Growth of Organic across Europe

31 October 2013

As most other European markets for organic food and drink have continued to grow at pace despite any recessionary pressures during the last few years, it is clear that the UK is unique in experiencing more challenging times. To find out more, key members of Soil Association Certification's Trade Development team have recently participated in two different Organic Trade events in Europe – Natexpo in Paris and the Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmo, Sweden.

Not only have they gathered information on the markets and what makes organic consumer different, but they have also been considering improved profile and export opportunities for Soil Association licensees in these territories.

The French market is forecast to grow by 7% this year, a continuation of strong growth for the third year – the market did have a slight dip at the height of the recession but since then, consumers have remained loyal and committed to choosing organic products for their health and the health of their families. AS well as the main supermarkets who allocate significant space to organic, the French organic sector thrives through the strong specialist retail sector with almost 1000 specialist stores across 5 key independent retail groups. ‘The structure of the French market is so different’ says Finn Cottle, Trade Consultant, ‘organic choice is available in most small towns and on the high street through well known specialist retailers, making organic accessible to all: the abundance of choice of organic cheeses and breads is so inviting: we have a lot to learn from our near neighbours as they provide such a vast array of organic products, all deliciously tasty and of the best quality’

Finn is pulling together some key information on the French and German markets which will be available later this year.

With multiple retails accounting for around 50% of the market, Sweden is also less dominated by multiples. With a  25% stake in the entire organic market, sharing the high street with Axefoods and Coop, ICA is recognised the biggest chain. Its 1400 stores are in-fact independently owned, sharing core marketing, logistics, buying and finance functions. ICA’s structure arguably gives individual stores more say in ranging, which should contribute to a more secure marketplace for organics. ICA’s “I Love Organic” range continues to grow with an offer in almost every category and at a very similar price point to non-organic. Commitment to organic should be expected, given that that the Swedish market  grew by 11%  in 2012 and Swedes spend twice that of the UK (per head, per annum) on organic food.

Our Trade Relations Manager, Lee Holdstock took time out of coordinating the Soil Association pavilion at the NOFF event to check out ICA’s offer in central Malmo. “Not only surprising to see twelve Soil Association certified grocery brands in the Triangeln ICA store, but also to see students specifically targeted by organic promotion, a segment we know is becoming increasingly important in the UK” reports Lee. Currently Sweden imports around 50% of its organic food and many city municipalities have ambitious targets  to make 100% of their public catering organic by 2020. “It’s clear that an opportunity exists for UK exporters to help cities such as Malmo move beyond their current 40%, and we’re already talking to Sweden’s main organic body about how Soil Association licensees can help."

Contact Lee:, 0117 3145193

Contact Finn:, 0782 503 2960

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