Whether it is out of a desire for tasty and authentic food, or to contribute to the protection of the environment, improvement of natural resources, animal welfare and rural communities, the statistics show organic consumption is on the rise.
According to the latest snapshot of organic production and consumption, the World of Organic Agriculture 2007 study, the value of global sales of organic food and drink increased by 43% to €25.5 billion between 2002 and 2005. The same study also projected these sales were worth about € 30.9 billion in 2006.
Though organic agriculture is practised in most countries around the world, the study said consumption was still concentrated in Europe and North America, which were actually experiencing undersupply.
The World of Organic Agriculture 2007 estimated European sales of organic products were worth between €13-14 billion in 2005, with the biggest market being Germany, which had annual sales of €3.9 billion at the time. This was followed by fellow EU countries Italy and France, with annual turnovers of €2.4 billion and €2.2 billion respectively.
The annual growth in the market for organic products is between 10-15%.
The Organic Farming in the European Union - Facts and Figures report was published in 2005 and estimated the EU market for organic products was €11 billion in 2004.
The study also pointed out that the United Kingdom had annual sales of more than €1.6 billion in organic products at the time. This means it joins the three previously mentioned countries of Italy, Germany and France as having an annual organic sales turnover of more than €1 billion.
Denmark ranked first out of the EU countries at the time in terms of average consumer spending on organic products at more than €60 per head. This was followed by Sweden, at €45, Austria at €41 and Germany at €40.
The report also found Denmark had the highest share of organic food and drink in total food products at 5%, and was followed by Sweden with 3%, Germany with 2.6%, the Netherlands with 1.8% and France with 1.3%.