Let’s take the head of the leading association of the organic food industry at her word: In view of the rising prices for conventional food, consumers should “take a very close look at which butter is cheaper,” said the chairwoman of the Federal Organic Food Industry (BÖLW), Tina Andres, on Tuesday Start of the world’s largest organic food fair Biofach in Nuremberg. Organic or not organic, that is the question of price. And the answer is quick: a packet of organic butter currently costs 3.29 euros at Aldi and Edeka, and 2.29 euros for the conventional alternative.
However, prices are gradually converging. Rising energy and fertilizer costs mean that conventional foods have become eight percent more expensive in the first half of the year. In the organic segment, which dispenses with expensive artificial fertilizers and grows a large part of the animal feed on its own farm or purchases it locally, prices rose by just over five percent. This may have contributed to consumers remaining loyal to the organic sector despite inflation and reluctance to buy. In the first half of the year, Germans spent 35 percent more on organic than in the first half of 2019. According to BÖLW, the vast majority of this is due to increases in sales volume, a smaller part to price developments, said Andres.
Even if the organic boom of the corona years 2020 and 2021 is not currently being achieved, Andres is satisfied: Compared to the entire food market, the organic segment is robust. “Consumers continue to rely on organic,” says the BÖLW boss, but they now mainly buy their organic carrots, schnitzel or yoghurts in normal supermarkets or at discounters in order to save. This can be a mistake, it’s worth taking a really close look here. Because at the organic supermarket chain Denns, for example, organic butter costs only 2.99 euros.
The organic sector is not satisfied with the federal government. In the coalition agreement, the traffic light agreed to expand the share of organic farming to 30 percent by 2030. It is currently just 10.8 percent. In order to reach the 30 percent target, organic farming would have to grow by 12 percent every year, but the funds planned in the budget would only suffice for growth of three percent by 2027, Andres is annoyed. She calls for significantly better funding for organic farmers, improvements within the framework of the Common European Agricultural Policy (CAP) in favor of organic farmers, more organic in the canteens and a campaign for more organic. “Anyone who wants 30 percent more organic must also give 30 percent more power,” said Andres, referring to Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP) and Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens).
In view of the climate crisis, the conversion to more organic farming must be pushed ahead, also demands the International Federation of Organic Farming Movements (IFOAM). 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions are caused by agriculture, 25 percent of which in turn is caused by the use of artificial fertilizers, criticized IFOAM chairwoman Louise Luttikolt. The dependency on artificial fertilizers is so great in many countries that the farmers there cannot grow grain because they can no longer afford the fertilizer. Luttikolt mentioned Africa, but also Sri Lanka, which is currently being shaken by unrest.
On Tuesday, Federal Minister of Agriculture Özdemir opened Biofach and the parallel natural cosmetics fair Vivaness. By Friday almost 2300 exhibitors from more than 90 countries will be presenting their innovations. The trade fairs had been postponed from February to July due to the high corona numbers. With the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, 27 Ukrainian exhibitors are represented in Nuremberg; companies from Russia or Belarus are not permitted.