The increase in prices in the organic products in recent months it is hindering the growth of consumption of this type of food. to the high YoFood inflation has added to the crisis that Spain is going through due to the scarcity of water. This increase in prices has led a growing number of citizens to give up organic food in favor of cheaper alternatives.
Coupled with these two factors, there are other issues that are causing a lack of interest in products on the part of consumers. Among them, “the shortage of promotional support by the State in the media,” says Susana Andrés, promoter of successful ecological projects. Four years ago, before the coronavirus pandemic, “the consumption of organic products increased considerably, specifically 35%,” says the expert. However, today this percentage “decreases in worrying numbers for the sector,” says Andrés, which could lead to negative consequences for consumer health.
In a scenario in which it seemed that the consumption of organic products was taking “small but firm steps”, world consumption of this type of product increased by barely 3.5%, percentage less than the reported figures previously, according to the data provided by the general secretary of Ecovalia, Diego Granado, to the information This change in trend has been observed not only by the Associations of Organic Products but also by the organizations of farmers and ranchers, who experience the evolution of organic production from a close-up and point to a recession in the consumption of these products. : “The segment of fresh organic products is falling“, asserts Andrés Góngora, member of the Executive Commission of the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers (COAG). The cause, a historical inflation in the price of food.
Consumers prioritize their spending in the shopping cart
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) confirmed for the month of July amounted to 2.3%, which represents an increase of four tenths with respect to the global 1.9% registered in July. But the rise in food prices stood at 10.8%, a situation that has led many citizens to prioritize savings over sustainability, and consequently, say goodbye to organic food for the moment and give priority to other types of expenses.
As awareness of a healthy lifestyle expands, so does the healthy food price. Susana Andrés highlights how today’s society is becoming aware that factors such as pollution, processed foods or pesticides can affect health. However, “the price currently conditions purchase decisions and consumers respond to products and services positioned in savings,” he says.
Fruit accounted for 14% of sales and vegetables for 10%
When it comes to shopping, organic food consumers mainly look for fresh products, according to the Spanish professional association for organic production, Ecovalia, which analyzes that fruits accounted for 14% and vegetables 10% of the total of organic food consumed, a line in which, for the moment, “there have been no slowdowns in consumption of some foods compared to others”. However, we will have to wait to know the data reported at the end of the year, remember from the association.
Greater promotion and diffusion of the organic product
The organic production sector works to improve awareness of organic products and therefore boost their consumption. To this end, both Ecovalia itself and the experts from the ecological projects, -among them Susana Andrés-, assure that “promotion is essential in this tide of sustainability, seals and certifications”.
Despite the fact that the part of organic food is “very relegated today”, according to Andrés, to increase sales “it is necessary to make society aware of sustainable consumption and that they know the health benefits that organic products bring “. In addition, that “the consumer knows that organic food is identified with a single seal for the entire European Unionand that these foods represent the true concept of sustainability”, emphasizes the general secretary of Ecovalia, Diego Granado.
42% of the population does not know the ecological seal
The sector needs to have the support of public policies for organic production and the European Commission has gone a step further after establishing a comprehensive ecological action plan, within the framework of the ‘From farm to fork’ strategy of the Green Pact . Thus, he has set the goal that “at least 25% of agricultural land in the EU is dedicated to organic farming and a significant increase in organic aquaculture by 2030″. Although it is necessary for Spain to increase the degree of awareness in the population, today, “58% of consumers know the green leaf, the European label organic production, but there is still 42% of the population with which we must work”, points out the general secretary of Ecovalia.
In short, the scenario of inflationary crisis and the drought that Spain is going through together with the risks of ‘greenwashing’ are challenges that the sector has to face, conclude the experts. Within this framework, in the short term, “we estimate that growth will continue, albeit for a while it will do it at a lower speed than it had a couple of years agobut we understand that we are facing circumstantial and non-structural circumstances”, concludes Diego Granado.