Organic in Australia: The latest consumer trends and business opportunities revealed

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fruit and vegetables, dairy and home-cooking ingredients were the leading food basket categories in 2016. ©iStock
Fruit and vegetables, dairy and home-cooking ingredients were the leading food basket categories in 2016. ©iStock
Domestic organic and export sales are continuing to rise in Australia but there are still considerable opportunities for the industry to accelerate its growth.

According to Andrew Monk, CEO of Australian Organic – which owns and supports the nation’s largest organic certifying group, Australian Certified Organic – demand is still outstripping supply in many sectors.

Ahead of his presentation at the Sustainable Foods Summit​ in Singapore later this month, we spoke with him to assess the latest trends and opportunities for organic in Australia.

How is the organic market in Australia performing?

According to Monk, the domestic Australian consumer market for organics was estimated to be about AU$1.4 billion in 2015. By 2018, the total value is anticipated to reach AU$2 billion given the current growth trajectory.

Australia has 53% of the world’s organically-managed farmland (over 27 million hectares) The numbers of certified organic operators in Australia grew by 5% between 2015 and 2016.

More than two out of three Australian households say they bought at least one organic product in 2016.

Where are the major growth opportunities?

Exports provide a huge opportunity, said Monk, who noted that organic sales to overseas markets grew by 17% to all continents in 2016.

Furthermore, he said grganic grains, fruit and vegetables, livestock feeds and red meat are all under-supplied, leading to demand outstripping supply in Australia and globally.

What are the latest consumer trends in organic?

Fruit and vegetables, dairy and home-cooking ingredients were the leading food basket categories for organic shoppers in Australia in 2016, said Monk.

Around 44% of shoppers actively check for a certification logo, while 75% of organic consumers in Australia buy their products from major supermarkets including ALDI, Coles and Woolworths.

What are the key drivers to make a purchase?

An organic certification mark increases the confidence of two-thirds of all shoppers in the certified product, said Monk.

Personal health for the buyer and their family was the strongest driver in 2016, while Australia’s top 10 perceived benefits of organic food in 2016 include: chemical-free, additive-free, environmentally friendly, free range, and non-GMO

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