Growth in the organic market accelerated in 2019.  Germans spent almost 12 billion euros on organically produced food and beverages, which is around 10 percent more than in 2018. The organic food trade was able to stabilise its market share.

Last year, growth in the sector almost doubled compared to 2018 (plus 5.5 percent). All sales channels profited from the leap in sales to 11.97 billion euros, “whether organic food retailers or discounters, full-range suppliers or direct marketers,” explained Peter Röhrig, Managing Director of the leading organic food association Alliance Organic Food Industry (Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft – BÖLW) today at the sector’s annual press conference at Biofach in Nuremberg.

Specialist trade asserts itself

Despite the growing competition from full-range grocery stores and discounters, which are constantly expanding their organic ranges, the organic food trade was able to stabilise its share of the organic market. In 2019, it achieved sales of 3.18 billion euros, which is 8.4 percent more than in the previous year and corresponds to a market share of 26.6 percent (2018: 26.9 percent). In 2018, sales of the specialist trade had almost stagnated at plus 0.8 percent.

The stable market share of the organic food retail trade is also remarkable because recently, more and more food retailers have been securing syndicate goods for themselves, thus eroding an important unique selling point of the specialist retail trade. Meanwhile, the structural change in the retail trade with the trend towards larger areas and chain stores continues.

Food retailers sell 60 percent of all organic goods

In the food retail sector, sales of organic food in 2019 climbed to 7.13 billion euros. Here, as well, the growth rate of 11.4 percent was significantly higher than in the previous year (plus 8.6 percent). 59.6 percent of total organic sales in 2019 were attributable to the food retail trade. In the other stores, which include bakeries, butchers, fruit and vegetable shops, weekly markets, direct marketers and petrol stations, customers bought organic products for 1.66 billion euros, around 5 percent more than in 2018, which corresponds to a market share of 13.8 percent.

The strongest driver in the organic segment remains the dry goods range. This also has to do with the structural change and the more direct purchase of goods by the chain-store retail trade, especially for dry goods. Full-range stores, discounters and drugstores have steadily expanded their range of cereals, muesli or spreads in recent years.

Every fourth kilo of flour is organic

In 2019, the product groups with the largest organic sales shares of the total food market were flour with 26 percent, eggs with 23 percent and milk with 14.4 percent. Retailers with organic potatoes, dairy cream products and vegetables achieved the greatest increase in sales, each of which rose by more than 20 percent. According to BÖLW, stable producer prices in spite of higher production speak for the continuously strong demand – especially for domestic organic products – and for the more frequent long-term contracts between farmers and processors.