The organic market in Europe continues to grow; it increased by a whopping 15 percent to 52 billion euros in 2020. Numerous markets recorded double-digit growth rates. Organic farmland has also grown. The latest data on organic agriculture in Europe is available in the statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture,” which will be presented at a virtual BIOFACH event on Feb. 15.
Organic farming area expanded by nearly one million hectares
In 2020, 17.1 million hectares were farmed organically in Europe; 14.9 million hectares in the European Union. With nearly 2.5 million hectares, France is now the new leader, followed by Spain (2.4 million hectares) and Italy (2.1 million hectares).
The organic acreage increased by more than 0.7 million hectares in the European Union, an increase of 5.3 percent. Growth in 2020 was slower than the year before, but still higher than in the early 2010s. In 2020, France added 307,000 hectares of organic land, Italy added 102,000 hectares and Germany added 88,000 hectares.
Liechtenstein has the highest organic share worldwide
In 2020, the organic acreage accounted for 3.4 percent of total agricultural land in Europe and 9.2 percent in the European Union. In Europe (and worldwide), Liechtenstein had the highest organic share (41.6 percent), followed by Austria, the country in the European Union with the highest organic share (26.5 percent). Fifteen European countries reported that at least ten percent of their agricultural land is farmed organically.
Nearly 420,000 organic producers
There were almost 420,000 organic producers in Europe and almost 350,000 in the European Union, with Italy being the country with the most farms (71,590).
There were almost 85,000 organic processing plants in Europe as a whole and over 78,000 in the European Union. Over 6,800 importers were counted in Europe and almost 5,800 in the European Union. The country with the largest number of organic processors was Italy (nearly 23,000), while Germany had the most importers (over 1,900).
Retail sales at 52 billion euros
Organic retail sales in Europe totaled 52 billion euros and 44.8 billion euros in the European Union. The European Union was the second largest single market for organic products after the United States (49.5 billion euros). The European country with the largest organic market is Germany (15.0 billion euros).
Strong retail growth
The European organic market saw very strong growth of 15.0 percent in 2020. The largest growth was in Germany (22.3 percent). In the decade 2011-2020, retail sales more than doubled in Europe and the European Union. The 2020 market figures, with double-digit growth rates in many places, much higher than in the past, show that the pandemic had a positive impact on the organic market. The reasons for this were that people were eating more at home and the issues of health, the environment and climate change were becoming more important. If this trend continues, production and processing will have to follow suit. The European Union’s Farm-to-Fork strategy can support this development with its measures.
European consumers spend more on organic food
In Europe as a whole, consumers* spent 63 euros per person on organic food in 2020, and 102 euros in the European Union. Per capita consumer spending on organic food more than doubled between 2011 and 2020. In 2020, the Swiss* spent the most on organic food (418 euros).