Popularity of organic food unbroken in Austria despite general price increases
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Organic sales in the food trade in the first half of 2022 are above the previous year in Austria. In the process, total organic sales crack the 2.5 billion Euros mark in 2021.
BIO AUSTRIA and AMA Marketing presented the current organic market figures for Austria at a joint press conference. The evaluation of the organic market 2021 (food trade, specialized trade and direct sales, gastronomy) showed a new record turnover of 2 billion 525 million Euros (2,525 million Euros).
Also, the organic sales figures in the food trade for the current year 2022 continue to show an upward trend. In terms of value, the organic share of total sales in food retail was 12 percent in the first half of 2022 - and thus even higher than the figure for the previous year, when sales were particularly strong (11.3 per cent; source: RollAMA). "The currently tense situation with regard to general inflation has not diminished the popularity of organic food," BIO AUSTRIA Chairwoman Gertraud Grabmann summarized the development accordingly.
Organic products stabilizing in the food sector
But not only that, organic has also proven to be a price-stabilizing factor in the food sector in the wave of price increases for consumers. This is also evident from the latest RollAMA figures: a price increase of 7.8 percent on average in the retail price of conventional food contrasts with a 3.5 percent increase in organic food in the first half of the year. "The effect of this is that the price difference between organic and conventional food on the shelf continues to decrease. And this makes it even easier for many consumers to reach for organic," Gertraud Grabmann saya.
Dependence on fossil raw materials as a price driver
The main reason for the higher prices for conventional food is probably the massive increase in artificial fertilizer prices due to rising energy prices, which have made production significantly more expensive. But feed prices, which have risen sharply in some cases, are also likely to be a significant contributor. "Organic farming is largely independent of fossil raw materials due to the non-use of artificial fertilizers - which are produced from fossil raw materials in a very energy-intensive way. In addition, organic farming in Austria is not dependent on feed imports from far away, because the animals get almost exclusively regional organic feed," emphasizes the organic farmer and BIO AUSTRIA chairwoman.
Growth in organic farms and organic areas
In the production sector, the figures of the Ministry of Agriculture show 23,961 organic farms as of the end of 2021, which is a total of 21.9 percent of all farms in the country. These organic farms cultivate a total of 679,142 hectares. That is 26.6 percent of the total agricultural land. Compared to 2015 - the beginning of the now expiring Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) period - this is an increase of 15 percent of farms and 23 percent of land.