“Guilt-free” snacking drives Australia’s organic food sector

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th November 2012

Australians are buying 30 per cent more organic confectionary and snacks than two years ago according to the latest biennial research commissioned by the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) and co funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL).

The Australian Organic Market Report 2012 (AOMR) shows that the organic industry is worth $1.27 Billion in Australia, estimated to grow by 15 per cent each year. The report puts the organic sector as one of the top five industries in Australia.

The AOMR reported that 1 million people are now regularly purchasing organic food, with 65 per cent of Australian’s reporting an organic food purchase within the last 12 months. Furthermore, three in four organic food consumers reported making their purchases at conventional supermarkets.

The Report is published every two years as a benchmark for the organic sector, from meat and vegetables to grain and cosmetics.

Organic snack foods growth

BFA’s Andrew Monk and co-author of the report says that organic snack foods are more widely available than they were two years ago. He said that because most supermarkets stock them, it “has improved convenience for shoppers and has increased sales.”

Australian health food company, Kadac, has been importing organic products for 20 years and started importing Green & Blacks organic fair trade chocolate long before it became popular.

Kadac director Roger Pitt said dealing in organic and fair trade snacks is something it will be “doing more of”.

“When you visit countries that are producing fair trade products and see their meager incomes you realise you have to support them and buy their products,” Mr Pitt said.

Reasons given for purchasing organic

The report showed that four of the five leading “known benefits” of purchasing organic products continue to revolve around what organic food does not contain. These are chemical-‐free (79 per cent), additive-‐free (77 per cent), hormone/antibiotic-free meat (64 per cent) and non-GMO (62 per cent).

According to the report, women remain the main buyers of organics for health reasons, however the environment as a motivator has fallen significantly. The report said that from cleaning products to pet food and cosmetics, organics is moving from mostly food for the fringes to being mainstream, and including non-food areas as it is increasingly seen as a lifestyle choice.

The majority of Australians surveyed indicated that they are more likely to purchase organic products with organic certification, with over 60 per cent believing an organic certification mark provides an increased level of trust. Trust, as well as lack of access, were the two key barriers identified that prevent people from purchasing organic. Price continues to be the main barrier for purchasing organic products.

Market sector figures

Fresh fruit and vegetables were the most commonly purchased organic products, as 60 per cent of consumers purchased these in the past year. This was followed by cooking ingredients (45 per cent), canned goods (39 per cent), bread (39 per cent), red meat (35 per cent) and dairy products (34 per cent).

Furthermore the report said that five per cent more Australians are purchasing organic dairy, poultry, pork, confectionary/snacks and non-alcoholic beverages than two years ago, despite increased perceptions of rising living costs.

It was also reported that Queensland had the highest organic value for farm gate sales valued at $139 million. This is followed by New South Wales valued at $103 million and Victoria $85 million in the organic sectors respectively.

Other recent Australian Food News articles on organic food issues:

US experts report on organic food consumption in children

Organic food and drink market increasing in China

Ethical shopping trends in the UK, research findings

Study questions organic food superiority

Australia’s organic industry recognition by NSW award