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Australia’s certified organic market hits $2.6 billion

Australia’s market for certified organic products has grown to $2.6 billion, with domestic sales up by $300 million on the year before to $1,677 million dollars.

According to research released today by industry peak body Australian Organic, Australians want greater clarity and information when it comes to choosing authentically organic products with 55 per cent looking for a certification logo on labels.

The Australian Organic Market Report 2019, which contains consumer insights from 1,025 Australians, showed 65 per cent of Australian households buy some sort of organic product or produce yearly – an annual rise of five per cent.

Increased awareness regarding chemicals and the environment were identified as major purchase drivers, with consumers saying when it comes to organic food the perceived main benefits upon buying are that they are chemical-free (80 per cent), environmentally friendly (71 per cent – up from 65 per cent since 2016) and additive-free (65 per cent).

Those who do buy organic, are also doing so with more regularity and in more categories. Nearly half of current organic purchasers say that they have increased the allocation of their household food spending on organics over the past year.

Australian Organic General Manager Niki Ford said the increase in domestic sales is reflective of the high recognition factor of the industry’s distinctive bud logo on products. Now recognized by more than 50 per cent of consumers, the Bud logo provides consumers with the surety they can trust the product is truly organic, which is something the industry has worked hard to convey to consumers.

“Unfortunately, there’s been a raft of non-certified products in the market purporting to be organic when they’re not,” she said. “Given this, the amount of people checking for a certification logo on the label to check if a product is organic is now 30 per cent higher compared to the recognition factor of 34 percent in 2012. More than six in ten shoppers agree that an organic certification mark would increase their trust in organic products, with over a quarter (29 per cent) saying that an organic certification mark would have a strong level of influence over their organic purchase decisions.”

Ms Ford said it was apparent the rapidly growing domestic market needs to be regulated, given that the Australian export market already has regulations in place. “It’s important that Australian consumers can trust that their dollars are being spent on products that have been rigorously tested to ensure they meet the industry standards and not fooled by clever marketing or simply a brand name containing the word ‘organic’. Australian Organic has an ongoing dialogue with the industry regulator on this topic and is currently petitioning for a stronger approach to domestic regulation.”

She added the Australian organic industry is constantly reacting to significant international trends, as consumer demands for convenience-based products increase. “In particular, the trends for ready-to-eat, packaged and alternative products are unmistakable in their presence on the retail shelf and demonstrated by the significant increase in certified processors since 2018,” she said. “The now diverse array of certified operators encompasses a rich blend of producers, processors, input manufacturers, handlers and retailers.”

Key findings

  • The overall number of households saying they have purchased at least one organic product in the past year lifted to 65%.
  • More than half of organic buyers (55 per cent) say that they look for a certification logo on the label to check if a product is organic.
  • Over 90 per cent of purchasers say that they shop for organics in supermarkets at some time.
  • The benefits of products being chemical-free (80 per cent), environmentally friendly (71 per cent) and additive-free (65 per cent) are viewed as the biggest advantages of organic food.
  • Just under half of organic shoppers say they purchased organic due to increased awareness of the impact of food and cosmetics on their personal health.
  • Over 7 in 10 shoppers use Google to search for information about organics.
    Australian Organic Market Report 201

The Australian Organic Market Report 2019 was compiled by market research group Mobium Group with industry insights from the University of New England.

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