ollowing the global surge in organic products demand –it is worth noting that in 2017, the value of organic F&B markets worldwide amounted to 77.4 billion US dollars, while in 2015 it is expected to reach 320.5 billion suggesting an increase of approximately 314 percent– there have been renewed efforts to reap the benefits of the trend. Organic farming is on the rise and many companies worldwide are updating and upgrading their production lines to accommodate organic offerings. In Europe, the organic food industry is a lucrative market, with a retail sales value of 30.7 billion euros in 2017 (a 3 percent increase compared to the previous year). And while the well-established Western European market experienced growth of 5.4 percent between 2015 and 2016, Eastern European sales are rapidly catching up with a growth rate of 8.8 percent during the same period.
The Greek factor The organic F&B market is growing strong in Greece, after a long period of inactivity. Nonetheless, there has been limited research concerning the values and motives driving Greek consumers to buy organic food, as well as the problems that exist on the level
of information. Organic food consumption is widely associated with the introduction of ethical concerns in business, the uprising of consumerism and environmentalism in Europe, and, most importantly, the emergence of scandals associated with the food industry, which have –thankfully– not plagued the Greek food sector. In fact, Greece could be considered an “organic-friendly” country since it is GMO-free, while many farmers tend to follow centuries-old traditions for the growing of their crops. Specifically, Greek organic arable land amounted to 3.1 percent of total EU organic arable land in 2014 and to 6.5 percent in 2016, thus showing a 109.6 percent of increase in numbers. In addition, the number of organic producers in the country in 2016 is estimated around 21,875. “Almost all major F&B companies have and converted part of their production into organic,” according to Mr Vassilis Kitsos, Agronomist & Certification Manager at Cosmocert, an inspection and certification control body. “As a result, wineries, fruit and vegetable packing centers, dairies and dairy companies, olive oil standardization companies produce