More than one in 20 Australians purchase organic products on a regular basis, according to a new report, which predicts the $1.27 billion industry is set for 15% annual growth.
The Australian Organic Market Report was commissioned by Biological Farmers Australia. It incorporates research from Swinburne University and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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According to the report, more than one in 20 Australian consumers regularly purchases organic products, and almost two in three have purchased an organic product in the past year.
The total value of the organic industry is an estimated $1.276 billion, but that figure is tipped to grow by up to 15% annually, putting it within the top five growth industries in Australia.
This growth also exceeds global growth trends, which, according to the report, sit between 2% and 11%. The report also states Australia has the world’s largest area of certified organic land.
Dr Andrew Monk, BFA director and report co-author, says shoppers are “voting with their wallet” as they become increasingly concerned about their health and the environment.
“Sixty-five per cent of Australians have bought organic in the past year and more than a million Australians do so regularly,” Monk says.
“Three prior noted top barriers to buying organics – price, ease of access or availability and trust in the product being organic – have all been reported as being lesser barriers for consumers.”
According to Monk, trust in organic certification, and consumer awareness of standards and certification, have increased considerably.
More than a third of Australian adults say they would reject a product claiming to be organic if it wasn’t certified. Meanwhile, Monk says more and more products are going organic.
“From cleaning products to pet food and cosmetics, organics is moving from mostly food for the fringes to being mainstream, and including non-food areas as it is increasingly seen as a lifestyle choice,” he says.
“Fruit and vegetables remain the most commonly purchased item, while non-alcoholic drinks rank as the highest frequency purchase, highlighting the ‘lifestyle’ products now available.”
After fruit and vegetables, the most commonly bought organic products are cooking ingredients, canned goods, bread, red meat and dairy products.
It’s also worth noting 5% of organic shopping is done either online or via direct methods such as home delivery.
And while there are fewer barriers for consumers, there are still several major deterrents when purchasing organic food, namely the cost.
A total of 80% of Australian adults cite “price/value” as the primary roadblock to increased participation in organics, followed by “being able to trust it is organic” (48%).
Quality of produce was cited by 41%, while freshness of produce and over-packaging remain weaker barriers for most, at 19% and 7% respectively.