Economic growth for Malaysia is projected at around 5%. The market suffered limited effects from the 2009 economic downturn.
However the organic food market and its distribution channels are not clearly defined, with a mixed import profile and very fragmented distribution structure.
Current drives for healthy living and tackling emerging health trends ( *5 population has diabetes increasing heart disease and obesity) would seem to offer some potential opportunities for organic food market growth.
Consumer Preferences & Channels
There is low market development in Malaysia despite growing awareness. Much of the domestic development is geared toward fresh produce production for direct sale to the local market.
There is also a lack of trust from consumers in the wider market towards organic labelled product – trusting the farmer or brand rather than the products certification.
The standard of Organic Agriculture for Skim Organik Malaysia (SOM)/myOrganic is based on the Malaysian Standard MS 1529:2001 and updated recently by Malaysian Standard MS 1529: 2015 – The production, processing, labelling and marketing of plant based organically produced foods. In addition to this, the SOM Standard also encompasses rules or criteria which are derived from specific legal provisions of national laws to control hazards that impact the environment, food safety and workers’ health and safety.
The SOM standard applies to farms of unprocessed plants and plant products which are intended to carry a descriptive labelling referring to organic production methods. It does not cover the downstream processed products which are derived from the unprocessed plants and plant products nor does it cover imports, livestock or aquaculture production. Although do note that under the regulations, all imported organic food products are required to display a reliable label of organic certification issued by an appropriate authority in the exporting country.
Malaysian legislation tends to be developed in a piecemeal and ministry/issue specific basis. This means the local requirements frequently change and it may be necessary to work with a local importer to ensure all legal aspects are sufficiently covered.
Sources & Links to Further Info