Shoppers increasingly turning to organic foods

The Czech Ministry of Agriculture has just released data which shows the organic food market grew at an exceptionally high pace in 2017. However, the sector’s market size is still very low compared to conventional food products.

Photo: MapleHorizons, Pixabay / CC0Photo: MapleHorizons, Pixabay / CC0 Organic food sales grew by 30.5 percent in 2017, the highest measured growth in the sector since 2008.

Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Vojtěch Bílý told the Czech News Agency that the data was collected through a survey conducted among producers and distributors in this sector.

The level of growth nearly triples that of the EU average for the same year, which lay at 10.5 percent.

Despite the noticeable growth in sales, organic food remains a niche product in the Czech Republic. In 2017, it accounted for just over 1 percent of total food consumption in the country, with the average customer spending bellow EUR 12 annually on such products.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the high growth rate was also partly due to the survey including a larger amount of companies active in the organic food sector compared to previous year.

The amount of companies and producers active in organic food grew by 11.4 percent in 2017, with 110 newly registered entities.

The overall size of the Czech Organic food market amounted to CZK 5.7 billion in 2017. With more than half going to Czech consumers and a further CZK 2.58 billion worth of products exported abroad, mainly into Germany.

When it comes strictly to producers however, 89 percent of their products are sold on the Czech market.

Most popular among Czechs were processed organic foods, with ready-made meals making up nearly half of the total turnover.

Furthermore, Czechs like to buy organic fruits and vegetables, followed by milk products.

Jan Gallas, the director of the ministry’s Department for Environmental and Ecological Farming, told the Czech News Agency that over a half of Czech cattle destined for the dinner table is from organic farms.

However, due to slaughterhouses not bearing the necessary certification, the meat is often sold without the specification “organic” in supermarkets.