Prospects flourish within organic industry: expert

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic products Organic food

As the perception of health and taste benefits from organic produce drives sales across all demographics, opportunities are arising in every sector of the food industry.

George Pontiako, president and CEO of Bi Nutraceuticals, told that while fresh fruit and vegetables are proving the most popular among health-conscious consumers, more unusual organic products, such as beer and vodka, are also becoming successful.

“High antioxidant content of organic fruit and vegetables mean that these are the most successful sectors, but a perception that organic food and drinks are also better quality and better tasting mean all organic produce is experiencing growth,”​ he said.

Pontiako explained that the organic trend is now also becoming popular across all demographics. Whereas organic products were originally targeted at women with families seeking the healthiest options for their children, he said “the trend has become trans-demographic, migrating first down to the young people and now up to the older generations”​.

This further opens up opportunities as a wide range of organic products suiting the tastes of various demographics could become popular.

However, the path is paved with obstacles, according to Pontiako, as the current food price crisis puts some pressure on market growth, and current contamination scares highlight the issue of organically sterilizing organic produce.

The current increase in food prices could also slow down growth for the organic market, but Pontiakos said it will not do more than that.

“People are willing to pay that little bit extra for good quality food, so while the organic sector is suffering a little from rising food prices, growth will continue,”​ he said.

Opportunities in the market

The organic market across all industries is worth $23bn worldwide and is growing about 6 percent each year.

Although scientific debate continues over whether organic produce contains for antioxidants and nutrients, the public is still showing interest in the health benefits of organic products.

The demand for organic for reasons other than health benefits has meant developments of niche markets within the organic sector, with groups such as microbreweries, which are continually making their mark on the beverage sector, launching organic products that carry an image of quality.

Pontiako also said organic energy-providing plants, such as guarana and ginseng, have been making their way into the energy drink market, which is achieving substantial growth in an American beverages sector that was pretty stagnant just a decade ago.

Challenges facing the organic market

Current salmonella scares across America are making people think twice about the consumption of organic products and raises the issue of organic sterilization, said Pontiako.

He said: “Just because it’s organic, does not mean it is clean. It is quite a challenge for manufacturers to sterilize their products without using pesticides, for example. We use a steam-sterilization process, which is completely organic.”

Pontiakos will speak on organic and herbal trend in North America at the 7th meeting of AFERP, ASP, GA, PSE and SIF, from August 3 to 8 in Athens, Greece.

He will cover the changing climate of the natural ingredient market and provide insight into organic farming and certification practices within the US.

Pontiakos said: “There is growing worldwide interest in organic supplements and ingredients, as well as a lot of questions surrounding supply chain and sourcing strategies for organic ingredients, as well organic sterilization processes. This session will help educate attendees about these issues, as well as highlight overall trends in this rapidly expanding market segment.”

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