Organic, cultivated land and consumption on the rise. Eurostat, ISMEA, Nielsen-AssoBio reports.


Organic continues to grow. Increasing consumption and land dedicated to organic farming, across Europe, under the banner of health and environmental protection.

Eurostat, ISMEA and Nielsen-AssoBio reports, in summary to follow.

More organic in the soils of Europe

According to data released on Feb. 15.2.21 by Eurostat, the EU statistical office, the utilized agricultural area (UAA) for organic increased by +46 percent, in Europe, between 2012 and 2019. Up to a total of 13.8 million hectares. (1)

The largest share of land under organic cultivation is in Austria, which with 25.3 percent of the total UAA is already on track to meet the targets set for 2030 in the EU Farm to Fork strategy. Estonia and Sweden are also on the podium, with 22.3 percent and 20.4 percent) respectively.

Italy and the Czech Republic devote 15.2 percent of UAA to organic, followed by Latvia (14.8 percent) and Finland (13.5 percent). In other EU member countries, the organic area never exceeds 11 percent. At the bottom of the ranking are the Netherlands (3.7 percent), Poland (3.5 percent), Romania (2.9 percent), Bulgaria (2.3 percent), Ireland (1.6 percent) and Malta (0.5 percent).

ISMEA, good for organic in times of restrictions

In 2020, organic food spending in Italy’s large-scale retail trade (GDO) grew by +4% over the previous year. The concentration of food consumption at home, linked to restrictions from Covid-19, has favored large-scale retail sales. And in this area, organic has consolidated a 3 percent market share of the total.

Data released on 2/15/21 by ISMEA report a 6 percent increase in purchases during the three weeks of the year-end holidays, especially in the North (64 percent) and in the Center, where organic consumption is growing more than elsewhere, +8 percent. (2) The most sought-after products are wine and sparkling wine (+27%), vegetables (+11%), and meat (+15%). The slight decline in fruit (-2 percent).

Nielsen-Assobio, growth in all sales channels

Organic growth in 2020 is most pronounced in the Italian market survey conducted by Nielsen-AssoBio, which includes other distribution channels. (3) The overall growth is +7 percent compared to 2019, for a total value exceeding 4.3 billion euros.

Sales surveys show a surge in the various distribution channels:

+6.5 percent in supermarkets, with sales exceeding 847 million. Large-scale retail has increasedprivate label or MDD (private label, private label) products and concentrates 48.7 percent of total organic sales,

+1.5 percent in discount stores, worth more than 194 million euros,

+10% in specialty stores,

+ 150% on the online channel.

Italian organic exports, up 8 percent

Italian organic exports soar. It exceeded 2,619 million euros in 2020, up 8 percent from 2019, accounting for 6 percent of total Italian agri-food exports.

Italy is confirmed as the world’s second largest export nation for organic products, after the US. And it maintains the lead in Europe.