According to new data* from Euromonitor International, Western Europe is currently the largest market for organic food in the world and typically accounts for 45-50% of global sales. The UK has experienced a 278% increase in retail sales from 1996-2000 and is the fastest growing organic foods market
in Europe.

Consumers tempted by easy-availability of organic foods through supermarkets

Although European growth is being restrained by static demand in Germany, which has a well established market of considerable size, the UK organic foods market is thriving. It has taken UK consumers longer to embrace the concept of organic foods but sales are now expanding rapidly due to greater availability through supermarkets, which account for 70% of all organic food sales.

Retail Sales of Organic Foods in Western Europe 1996-2000
US$ million



% growth
Austria 175 400 128.6
Belgium 60 200 233.3
Denmark 250 600 140.0
France 615 1,250 103.2
Germany 1,600 2,500 56.3
Italy 500 1,100 120.0
Netherlands 230 700 204.3
Sweden 150 400 166.7
Switzerland 270 600 122.2
UK 330 1,250 278.9
Other Europe 150 550 250.0
Source: Euromonitor

Organic greens top of the shopping list

Vegetables and fruits are the most demanded produce. They represent 40 and 18 percent respectively of total organic sales, whereas the market share for meat is 11 percent and 9 percent for dairy products. Other products including bread, cereals, savoury snacks, processed foods, baby food, cooking oils, confectionery, hot beverages and soft drinks have a 22 percent market share.

The 'Good Life' goes mainstream

Organic foods was previously seen as the preserve of a dedicated group of 'beard and sandal brigade' consumers, but the market has grown to occupy a small but significant mainstream niche. In addition, the market is buoyant and looks set to show continuing healthy growth. UK trade in organic food is expected to increase over the next 10 years to between 10% and 15% of all food sales

*Organic Foods in Europe, published August 2000