Organic land and markets continue to grow worldwide

14th February 2020

In the decade 2009-2018 organic land worldwide grew by a staggering 69%.

The latest release of figures on global organic production and sales again show solid growth, in production base, retail markets and in some countries a growing share of the food system overall.

Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, FiBL and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) presented the latest world data on organic land and markets at BioFach, the organic trade fair and conference in Nuremberg, Germany.

With around 20% (19.9%) of Sweden’s agricultural land now engaged in certified organic production it is one of the world leader in organics.

France has seen a 16.7% increase in its already considerable area of organic agricultural land, now totalling an area of 2,035,024 hectares.

Germany saw a 10% increase to an area of 1,521,314 hectares. Denmark increased its organic land by 13.4% to 256,711 hectares.

On the other side of the Atlantic the US land area saw a small drop on the previous year but still stands at 2,023,430 hectares.

The UK is some way behind its closest European neighbours with 2.7% of our land area under organic production, just over 450,000 hectares. This remains below the peak in UK organic land area in 2008 but land entering organic production has been growing over the last few years and we look forward to the next release of data from Defra, due in May.

Consumer demand worldwide however is still growing rapidly with consumers seeking to support environmental and climate improvement in their food choices

The European market recorded a growth rate of 7.8 percent. Among the key markets, the highest growth was observed in France (15.4 percent). In the decade 2009-2018, the value of the European and European Union markets has more than doubled.

Retail sales in Europe are valued at 40.7 billion euros (37.4 billion euros in the European Union). The largest market is Germany (10.9 billion euros). The European Union represents the second largest single market for organic products in the world after the United States (40.6 billion euros).

It’s worth mentioning that China at 8.1 billion euros continues to grow with 3.1 million hectares of organic land (increases of 3.7% and 6.5% respectively) is certainly one to watch.

In the UK the recent Soil Association report shows that UK organic sales have grown 4.5% in the last twelve months.

Recent Kantar data provided by the Organic Trade Board (OTB) shows UK sales value growth in organic food and drink of up by 6.5% with improving performance toward the end of last year. This is against a backdrop of overall UK food and drink sales up 1.4%.

OTB consumer research also shows that just over a quarter of the total UK population strongly consider buying organic food and drink, with around a third of younger consumers and households with young children also strongly considering buying.

This continues to represent a real opportunity to retailers given the strong consumer trends in equivalent developed economies in the EU and in the US.


The survey on organic farming in Europe was conducted by FiBL and AMI. 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 International Trade Centre (ITC), the Coop Sustainability Fund, NürnbergMesse and IFOAM – Organics International.