Danish consumers are ’world champions’ of organic food: report

Sales of organic food are setting new records across the globe, and Denmark is at the front of the field.

Danish consumers are ’world champions’ of organic food: report
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

In a new international report with data from 180 countries, Denmark was found to have consolidated its position as the world’s leading country for organic.

In 2017, 13.3 percent of Denmark’s total food sales were organic produce, well ahead of closest contenders Sweden and Switzerland, with 9.1 and 9.0 percent respectively.

The report, from Swiss independent, non-profit, research institute Agriculture FiBL, was presented on Wednesday at the Biofach organic conference in Nuremberg, Germany.

Thirty-two Danish companies are participating in the festival, where they hope to secure a better share of the industry’s global market.

The report describes a historically high interest in organic, with total sales amounting to 97 billion dollars worldwide in 2017.

Global turnover from organic products has doubled in the last ten years.

Minister for the Environment and Food Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, who opened Denmark’s stand at the conference, said he was pleased to see the industry’s progress.

“Part of our strength (in Denmark) is that you can find lots of organic produce in local supermarkets and not just in specialised stores. We want to bring that idea to other countries,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

“The proportion of organic food in Danish shopping baskets has increased dramatically and is now at 14 percent. That’s why there’s huge potential in a large and important market like Germany for increased export,” the minister added.

Denmark’s participation in the conference was organised by organic farming interest organisation Økologisk Landsforening and export network Bio Aus Dänemark.

“Denmark, year after year, has maintained a position as the world’s leading nation for organic. That reflects the conscious nature of Danish consumers as well as the good interaction Denmark has between organic producers and the retail sector,” Økologisk Landsforening CEO Helle Borup Friberg said.

READ ALSO: Denmark's government to spend a billion on organic farming

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Denmark has world’s biggest appetite for organic food

Organic goods were more likely to fill shopping baskets in Denmark in 2018 than anywhere else in the world, a new report has found.

Denmark has world’s biggest appetite for organic food
Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The international report “The World of Organic Agriculture”, conducted by the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer), found Denmark to be first out of 180 countries on organic food use.

The report compares the consumption of organic foods in 180 countries and was scheduled to be presented on Wednesday at BioFach, the world's largest organic fair.

The report's section on Denmark notes that 11.5 percent of retail sales in 2018 were organic products, an increase from the previous year’s figure of 10.5 percent.

Additionally, raw spending on organic has increased in Denmark, bringing the country closer to Switzerland, which has the biggest outlay on organic products. Since goods generally cost more in Switzerland, the same spending levels do not constitute the same market share.

READ ALSO: Does 'world's fifth-most expensive country' Denmark deserve its costly reputation?

The report finds that every Swiss and Danish consumer spent around 2,325 kroner on organic products in 2018.

The amount is equivalent to around 9.9 percent of Switzerland's retail sales.

Although individual Danish and Swiss consumers spend the most on organic, the two relatively small countries are far from the largest market.

In Denmark, organic products had a turnover of 12.9 billion kroner, according to Statistics Denmark data.

By comparison, the report shows that organic products in the United States had a turnover of $303 billion, making the US by far the largest market in the world for organic.

In total, $725 billion-worth of organic goods were sold globally in 2018, a five percent increase from the previous year.

Denmark’s government aims to double sales of organic products over the next five years and reach a turnover of 26 billion kroner.