Globally, the organic food market grew by 3.5% in 2021. Image: Shutterstock
The global organic food market grew by 3.5% in 2021, with the USA leading the way in terms of retail sales. Meanwhile, with significant growth in land use for organic farming, Africa could emerge as a new driving force in the sector.
Spain's professional association for the organic sector, Ecovalia—founded in 1991 and with more than 15,000 members, representing the equivalent of more than one million hectares of organic farming —recently published a comprehensive report proposing a snapshot of the organic food market in the country. The report is especially rich in insights that assess the progress of this market on a global scale. For example, the report states that the global organic food market grew by 3.5% in 2021 to reach €124.845 billion.
Could Africa drive future growth in the organic sector?
A total of 76,411,883 hectares of land were dedicated to organic production in the world in 2021. An area that has increased by 1.97% compared to 2020. But this global figure encompasses very different situations depending on the country. Oceania, which has 47% of the world's organic farming land, is the most advanced region in the field thanks to the huge scale of Australia's organic production areas (35.69 million hectares). Argentina takes second place, with 4.07 million hectares of land used for organic farming.
In the long term, Africa could have the potential to shape the future of organic agriculture. Although the continent has only 3% of the world's organic farming land, with more than 2.6 million hectares farmed today, it has recorded the strongest growth in one year, evaluated at +17.3%.Also read: Japan's taiko reinvents drum tradition
In terms of consumption, the United States is the country with the biggest market for organic food, valued at €48.618 billion. In Germany, the sector is worth some €15.870 billion, compared to €12.659 billion in France.
However, when evaluating the success of organic products per capita, Switzerland tops the list, with an annual budget of €425 per person. Similarly, in Denmark, the per capita spend amounts to €384, compared to €268 in Austria, €266 in Sweden and €191 in Germany. The top ten of countries with the highest per capita consumption of organic food is dominated by European nations.