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Organic Monitor’s 2009 Predictions 31.01.09


With the slowdown in the global economy, there is some uncertainty about the year ahead for ethical & sustainable industries. At the end of the first month of 2009, Organic Monitor gives its predictions on its specialist industries for the year ahead.

1. Organic Foods Global sales of organic food & drink have been increasing by over US $5 billion a year, reaching US $46 billion in 2007. Positive growth is expected to continue in 2009, however slower growth rates are envisaged in countries affected by the financial crisis.

The UK market has been the most adversely affected because of the harsh economic climate reducing consumer expenditure. Other countries have been less affected with double-digit growth still continuing in northern European countries. Although consumer demand for organic foods remains high, increased price sensitivity is leading consumers to ‘trade downwards’. Thus, organic food sales from discounters and other low-cost retailers are increasing at the expense of other retailers. Retailer private labels are also gaining popularity over manufacturer brands.

2. Natural Cosmetics Global sales of natural and organic cosmetics are increasing by over US $1 billion a year. As for organic foods, most demand is concentrated in Europe and North America. Preliminary research shows that European sales exceeded US $2 billion for the first time in 2008.

Healthy market growth rates are continuing in 2009, with most growth observed in mainstream retailers like supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies. Retailer private labels are a major driver of market growth; a growing number of retailers are launching certified natural & organic cosmetics under their private labels, offering consumers low-price quality products. However, some rationalisation is expected in 2009 due to a large number of brands competing with private labels for retail shelf-space.

3. Fairtrade Products Consumer demand for fairtrade products continues to strengthen in spite of the economic slowdown. Preliminary research indicates that global fairtrade product sales exceeded US $3.5 billion in 2008.

Growing consumer interest in social & trade issues involving developing countries is driving market growth. Retailer investment is stimulating production of fairtrade products; a number of European supermarkets have converted their entire supply chains of certain products to fairtrade. The fresh produce category is tipped to show the highest growth in 2009.

4. Natural & Organic Ingredients Slowing demand from food processors, beverage companies and other end-users is bringing supply in balance with demand. After experiencing several years of undersupply, ingredient prices are expected to decline in 2009. Increased globalisation of supply chains is predicted to continue as large ingredient companies spread their production bases.

5. Soya & Functional Foods Dairy alternatives are continuing to gain popularity across the globe. The success of soya milk is leading to high investment in related products, marketed as dairy alternatives and / or functional products. Oat-based dairy alternatives are expected to continue to gain ground in 2009. A major advantage soya and oat-based products have is that they can be marketed on health claims.

Many new functional foods are expected to be launched in 2009, however few are likely to have a long-term presence because of the high rate of product failures in this market.

6. Ethical Textiles Rising ethical consumerism is fuelling demand for organic and fairtrade textiles. New product launches are expected to continue in 2009 as investment comes in from new producers and retailers.

Organic Monitor also expects sustainability to become increasingly prominent in 2009. Natural & organic product companies are at the forefront of adopting sustainable and ethical business practices. This development is leading to some convergence between product sectors. Indeed, many new organic product launches contain fairtrade ingredients. The number of carbon neutral companies is also expected to increase in 2009.

Peter Shield

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  • Organic Monitor’s 2009 Predictions

    31 January 2009 19:31, by Peter Shield

    Reuters Report on Global Organic sales. Nigel Hunt and Brad Dorfmean write: ’As recession drives consumers to cut costs, their commitment to organic food has been tested with sales growth slowing - but so far, sales are not falling. How green are our wallets?’ Patrick is interviewed:
    "...Patrick Holden, director of Britain’s leading organic certification body the Soil Association, said he was getting mixed reports, with some consumers switching from organic to cheaper free-range products. Demand for many products is, however, holding up well. Some are benefiting from growing demand for locally produced food. "Organic food with a local story is bucking the recession," he said. "This recession has destabilized things a little, but not catastrophically." Mr. Holden said about 20% of organic food sales were vulnerable, being bought by "light green" purchasers who had been influenced by the actions of other consumers. These he contrasted with the "deep greens" who make up 80% of demand and are committed to the benefits for health and the environment. "Storm and tempest won’t affect their buying habits," he said. "I think that rump of committed consumers [is] with us to stay."

    See online : How green are our wallets?

    Reply to this comment

    • Organic Monitor’s 2009 Predictions 2 February 2009 16:25, by Peter Shield

      From Natural Products Magazine

      Organic brands are faring better in recession than supermarket own-label lines says a leading food and farming consultancy.

      In a letter in The Grocer this week the head of food marketing at Bidewells Agribusiness, Richard Walters, argues that media reporting of the downturn in organic food sales has failed to observe an interesting, and telling, piece of detail.

      Walters say that research conducted by Bidwells into the organic dairy sector has revealed that organic brands ’have been performing very strongly, with growth seemingly not dented by a tough trading environment’. But he says the picture is very different when it comes to supermarket own-label organic products which have come for increased competition from local foods.

      Walters adds: ’Bidwell’s research has shown that shopper interpretation of what organic represents can vary depending on the product category. What the growing brands we have seen have in common is that they have communicated meaningful brand values beyond just the organic message.’

      The decline in sales of own-label lines, Walters concludes, can partly be attributed to their failure to communicate their values effectively.

      See online : Natural Products Article on organic value

      Reply to this comment

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