The European organic vegetable market is reporting strong growth fuelled by fears over food safety and a growing consumer demand for healthy and nutritious food. The market is projected by specialist research association Organic Monitor to grow by 26.2% this year, underpinned by strong growth in key markets such as France and Germany. By 2003, fresh organic vegetable market revenues are forecast to exceed US$1bn.

The UK market has experienced the highest market growth since 1997 and is predicted to remain the second largest in Europe in the coming years. Germany remains the largest market for fresh organic vegetables in Europe, accounting for almost a third of European market revenues.

The French market is fast catching up, and is projected to show the compound annual growth rate of 25% over the next two years. Despite its reputation for fresh food and excellent cuisine, France has one of the least developed organic vegetable industries in Europe. Growth in Germany and Italy is also predicted to remain high in the coming years. Major drivers of market growth are to be increasing penetration in retail channels and strong state support in these countries.

Managing the supply chain is key to unlocking market potential

As organic vegetables move into mainstream marketing channels, the supermarkets develop great bargaining power. In their efforts to reduce the price premium of organic vegetables, they put considerable pressure on suppliers and growers to lower margins. Organic Monitor research shows that the suppliers that have responded to this by achieving economies of scale and developing distribution efficiency have become market winners.

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