The sale of organic food has taken a strong upward turn in Finland. In the past year, the retail sale increased by 12%, which is considerably more than before. The sale of organic fruit and vegetables grew the most.
According to estimates by the Finnish Organic Food Association Pro Luomu, Finnish retail stores sold 250 million euros worth of organic products during the period 1.7.2015–30.6.2016. During this period, Finnish food sales in total only grew by 0.3%. Thanks to the strong growth, the market share of organic food has gone up to 1.9%.
Marja-Riitta Kottila, executive director of Pro Luomu, is pleased with the development. Only a year ago, the sales were up by only just over 1 per cent.
– There are two things behind this: on one hand, consumers are more interested in how food production affects the welfare of people, animals and the nature, and on the other, there are new good and inexpensive products available. Together these two things have now led to increased sales, Kottila says.
If the organics market keeps growing at the same rate until the end of the year, the sales may go up to about 265 million euros, and the market share up to 2% this year.
The figures of how the Finnish organics market has developed were published during the Organic Food Day in Helsinki, on Thursday, 6 October. The estimate of Pro Luomu is based on sales data collected from retail shop groups.
Retailers play a big role
A great part of organic sales is made of everyday food products and their price is of big importance to consumers. The organic sales show that the retailers have become more proactive: organic products are marketed more than before and prices have also come down.
– The steps that retailers have taken have had a big impact in the countries that have seen a significant growth in organic sales, such as Sweden and Denmark. We can now see the same development here in Finland, Kottila analyses.
The input of retailers on marketing, which differs between different retailer groups and different parts of the country, is also reflected in the sales. The sale of organic products has clearly grown more in the Helsinki metropolitan area than in the whole country on average.
She is also delighted that new organic products are no longer just copies of non-organic ones, but are genuine new products and as such of interest to wider consumer groups.
Growth in many product groups
Of all the organic product groups, especially the following groups have seen a growth in sales: cheese, fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, food oils, children’s food, coffee, frozen food and juices, whereas the sale of organic meat products, beer, yoghurt and bread has gone down.
The biggest seller in organic product groups is still milk if we put all types of milk together. It accounts for about 13% of all organics sales. The second biggest seller is organic fruit, followed by organic vegetables.
Organic vegetable oils and eggs have the biggest market shares, about 20% and 13% respectively. The market share of organic flakes and groats and children’s food is close to 10%. Kottila points out that there is a need for new products particularly in organic meat products and breads.
– Just one good new product can raise the sales in the whole product group. Good examples of this are the Jymy ice cream and Gouda cheese, she says.
The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has funded the collection and publishing of data about the organic market in Finland.