Organic food is more popular than ever in Denmark

Consumers in Danish stores are filling their shopping baskets with an increasing amount of organic produce.

Organic food is more popular than ever in Denmark
Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard / Ritzau Scanpix

Fruit and vegetables are particularly popular as part of a general growth in organic sales, according to new Statistics Denmark figures.

Total sales of organic food produce increased by 14 percent between 2017 and 2018, reaching a value of 12.9 billion kroner.

That means Denmark remains the country with the world’s highest proportion of organic food sales.

“This is evidence that Danish farmers are able to convert to what consumers want, regardless of the type of production in demand,” Kirsten Lund Jensen, head of organic with the Danish Agriculture & Food Council (DAFC), told Ritzau.

Sales of organic meat are also increasing, but at a slower rate, according to the DAFC head of department.

“There has been a breakthrough with sales [of fruit and vegetables] and consumers are very aware of the fact chemicals have not been used,” Jensen said.

Total sales of organic fruit and vegetables have more than tripled since 2012, from 1.3 billion kroner in that year to 4.3 billion kroner in 2018.

DAFC says that Danish producers are keen to meet the demand for organic amongst consumers by expanding their organic production, or by converting from non-organic. Full conversion to organic production takes two years.

“There may be situations in which farmers are not able to keep up with increasing growth (in demand),” Jensen said.

An overall growth of 10-15 percent per year in the sector is expected by DAFC to continue in coming years.

Organic food production must meet certain environmental and animal welfare standards, while producers and stores in Denmark must comply with specific regulations in order to label their products as organic.

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.