By Hugh Finlay
The Danish organic food industry is the most successful in the world, with sales booming in Denmark and to other countries. Sales of organic food has been rising in Denmark for the past 25 years. The rise has been most dramatic since 2013. For instance, Danes bought 14% more organic food in 2016 than in the previous year. About 10% of food sold in the country is organic, more than any other country in Europe. Not far behind is Switzerland, Luxembourg and Sweden, in that order, and after that Austria, USA and Germany, in that order.
The organic foods that are selling the best in Denmark are oatmeal, yogurt, carrots, cooking oil, eggs, milk, flour, bananas, fruit juice, and oranges. In terms of money made by Danish organic farmers from the sale of organic food products, about 30% of the money is from the sale of organic fruit and vegetables, followed by dairy products, which makes about 25% of the money. Interestingly, although the biggest outlet for organic food sales in Denmark is supermarkets, there is a growing tendency for Danes to buy their organic food through the internet.
Germany is the biggest customer for Danish organic food (38%), followed by Sweden (20%), and then China (12%). The most popular Danish organic food exports are dairy products. Sales of Danish organic food products are predicted to continue growing at the rate of 10% a year.
Nevertheless, the main market for Danish organic food is Denmark, as the Danes are more enthusiastic about buying organic food than any other country in the world. The desire for cleaner more environmentally conscious food has grown, and with that the popularity of organic food. Once customers get used to organic food, they do not want to go back to non-organic, part of a natural tendency to want better quality food. Over the years, the variety of organic food products on sale has grown, which in turn has increased the total sales of organic food.
A trend which has developed in Denmark is that customers want to know more about where the organic food was grown, indicating a growing interest in locally grown organic food. The Danish government has been actively supporting the organic movement in Denmark, and introduced an official government Organic Label, along with an Organic Cuisine Label for restaurants. In order to qualify for the Organic Label, Danish farmers have to leave their land free of chemicals, and any growing, for 2 years, before they can start growing organics on the land. Danes, who are more concerned than ever about food quality, trust these labels. In addition to government support, Danish supermarkets have also deliberately spurred the growth of the Danish organic food industry, by offering discounts on organic products.