The European organic market reached a record high in 2020. It increased by 15 percent and reached €52.0 billion, the highest growth rate in the past decade. The organic farmland continued to grow, too. The latest data are shown in the 23rd edition of the statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture 2022”, published by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International.

organic farmland
Source: FiBL

Organic farmland increases by 0.7 million hectares

In 2020, 17.1 million hectares of farmland in Europe were organic (European Union: 14.9 million hectares). With almost 2.5 million hectares, France became the new number one country in terms of farmland under organic management, followed by Spain (2.4 million hectares), Italy (2.1 million hectares) and Germany (1.7 million hectares).

17.1 million hectares of farmland in Europe were organic In 2020

Organic farmland increased by over 0.7 million hectares in the European Union, representing an increase of 5.3 percent. Growth was, however, lower than in the previous year. France reported 307’000 hectares more than in 2019, Italy had over 102’000 hectares more, and Germany had over 88’000 hectares more.

Liechtenstein has the highest organic share of the total farmland in the world

In 2020, organic farmland in Europe constituted 3.4 percent of the total agricultural land and 9.2 percent in the European Union. In Europe (and globally), Liechtenstein had the highest organic share of all farmland (41.6 percent), followed by Austria, the country in the European Union with the highest organic share (26.5 percent). Fifteen European countries reported that at least 10 percent of their farmland is organic.

organic farmland
Source: FiBL

Organic producers, processors and importers: Modest growth

There were almost 420’000 organic producers in Europe and almost 350’000 in the European Union. Italy had the largest number (71’590).

There were 84’799 processors in Europe and over 78’000 in the European Union. Over 6’800 importers were counted in Europe and almost 5‘800 in the European Union. The country with the largest number of processors was Italy (nearly 23‘000), while Germany had the most importers (more than 1’900).

The European market reached a record growth rate of 14.9 percent, the highest in the last decade

Record growth of retail sales

Retail sales in Europe were valued at €52.0 billion (€44.8 billion in the European Union). The largest market was Germany (€14.99 billion). The European Union represents the second largest single market for organic products globally after the United States (€49.5 billion).

Source: FiBL

The European market reached a record growth rate of 14.9 percent, the highest in the last decade. Among the key markets, the highest growth was observed in Germany (22.3 percent). In 2020, the organic markets in many countries exhibited double-digit growth due to the pandemic as people stayed home and began to cook more often. Health, environment and climate change have become important issues. If this trend continues, production and processing have to keep pace. The Farm to Fork strategy of the European Union can support this development with respective measures.

European consumers spend more on organic food

In Europe, consumers spent €63.3 on organic food per person annually (European Union: €101.8). Per capita, consumer spending on organic food has doubled in the last decade. In 2020, Swiss and Danish consumers spent the most on organic food (€418 and €384 per capita, respectively).

European countries account for the highest shares of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets

Denmark has the highest organic market share in the world

Globally, European countries account for the highest shares of organic food sales as a percentage of their respective food markets. Denmark has the highest organic food sales share worldwide, with 13.0 percent in 2020, followed by Austria with a share of 11.3 percent and Switzerland with 10.3 percent.

Source: FiBL

Towards the 25% horizon

Looking at the organic data, Member of the European Parliament, Petros Kokkalis, rapporteur of the Regulation on Statistics on Agricultural Inputs and Outputs (SAIO) commented: “The SAIO Regulation is the opportunity to provide for precise and reliable data on organic agriculture. We need to be able to monitor and evaluate the EU target to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030”.

Retail sales in Europe were valued at €52.0 billion

IFOAM Organics Europe’s Director Eduardo Cuoco added: “The growth of organic farming in the EU has been impressive up to 2020, but it is fragile as it is partly dependent on public policy support, and the current negotiations on the CAP Strategic Plans bring a lot of uncertainties. The case of France, which currently holds the Presidency of the EU Council, is striking: it now boasts the largest area of organic land in the EU, but the government’s plans to stop CAP payments rewarding organic farmers for the public goods they deliver risks putting a halt to the growth of the past years.”

FiBL and AMI conducted the survey on organic farming in Europe. The FiBL data collection was carried out in the framework of the global survey on organic farming supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Coop Sustainability Fund, NürnbergMesse and IFOAM – Organics International.

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