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BIOFRUITNET project is launched

© FiBL

At a meeting in Hamburg on 16 and 17 December 2019, the BIOFRUITNET project was officially launched. Focusing on organic pome, stone and citrus fruits, this project aims to strengthen the competitiveness of European organic fruit production by:  

  • Collecting and synthesizing existing practical and scientific knowledge on organic fruit growing to distribute it widely among the EU countries through easy formats like e-learning, podcasts, videos and short articles.

  • Strengthening the established networks in organic fruit growing and establish links between them to create strong networks of organic fruit producers and stakeholders with a good flow of information.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 862850. It is coordinated by the international farmers association Naturland and carried out in collaboration with 15 partner organisations representing 12 countries in total. They will work together during 3 years to provide information to the farmers in a practical way to tackle the challenges of pests and diseases in fruit crops. FiBL is one of the project partners.

Source: FiBL
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EU and US vie for leadership in organics

The world’s largest organic markets, the US and the EU have exhibited dynamic growth over the past couple of years. While the US overtook the EU as the leading global organic food market in 2012, the EU has been showing stronger growth of late. Indeed, over the past 10 years, the organic food market in the EU has nearly doubled. According to the Organic Trade Association, the US recorded sales of US $47.9 billion in 2018, while the EU market was worth an estimated US $45.4 billion, up 18% from the previous year, according to USDA FAS data.


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Third Global Organic Produce Expo sees record attendance and focus on sustainability

Third Global Organic Produce Expo sees record attendance and focus on sustainability

The Global Organic Produce Expo brought in more buyers and exhibitors than previous years and garnered many positive reviews. Organised by The Packer, the third annual event took place 9-11 January and focused on fresh organic produce. Sessions covered everything from sustainable packaging to food safety, logistics, governmental policy, marketing, and more.

An expo floor featured 86 exhibitors, up from 73 exhibitors in 2019. Of the 714 attendees, 111 were retail buyers, 37 were foodservice buyers and 76 wholesale buyers. That is up from last year, when the event drew 604 people, including 97 retail buyers, 21 foodservice buyers and 72 wholesaler buyers. GOPEX 2020 attendees included buyers and suppliers from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The show kicked off with a morning tour of PortMiami, followed by a TopGolf networking event. Jennifer Tucker, US Department of Agriculture deputy administrator of the National Organic Program, spoke on January 10 about changes coming this year to tighten up enforcement and extra steps to importing organic products.

A look at organic price premiums by Rabobank analyst David Magana provided a perspective on promising fruits and vegetables in the category. That speech was followed by a panel discussing retail organic trends and then a session on organic agriculture and climate change.

On January 11, Ashley Tyrner of Farmbox RX described efforts to revolutionise the health care market by providing fruits and vegetables as a way of preventive care. Keynote speaker Antoni Porowski, the food and wine connoisseur for Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” provided an entertaining hour of musings about food trends and organic produce in a morning session before the expo.


Source: The Packer
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Over a quarter of UK consumers don’t trust organic label

Over a quarter of UK consumers don't trust organic label


A survey in the UK has found that more than a quarter of shoppers say they are “not confident at all” that food labelled as organic has been produced under organic farming methods. As wickedleeks.riverford reports, while shoppers have more ethical considerations when shopping, there is a “deep suspicion” over the labelling of ethical products. The poll was carried out online with 1,000 shoppers by Lloyd’s Register. According to the results, 26.9% of respondents reported being “not confident at all” that the organic label was accurate, while 61% said they were “fairly confident” and 11.8 per cent said they were “very confident”. Similarly, 20% of UK consumers said they were “not confident at all” or “very suspicious” about claims that vegan products do not contain meat.

According to the Food Trends report, “There is a deep suspicion on the part of shoppers regarding ethical food products. In an industry built on trust, this signals that this trust is under threat. This will mean that certification bodies will need to increase their efforts to educate consumers on the role of certification and what the logo represents.” 

The report also found the country in which the food is grown to be important for consumers, with 63% saying they check the source country of their food products. A third of respondents also reported being more concerned than they were a year ago about food safety concerns related to outbreaks of listeria or other food borne illnesses.

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Spain’s avocado farmers advised to choose organic

EU avocado prices to lower over the long-term

Following Spain’s avocado boom, the sector is experiencing issues which were previously encountered with other products, such as persimmon, pomegranate, and almond. The fruit’s profitability has led to a shortage of seedlings and rocketing prices. Sudden growth can be followed by saturation and price slumps. This is why agronomist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Tomás Faulí, advised producers at a recent event in Valencia to develop organic avocado to clearly differentiate the market. 

The main pests are the crystalline mite and soil fungi, such as Rosellinia and Phitóphtora, but both can be controlled with organic methods, without having to resort to chemical pesticides. This mite is less harmful than those that affect citrus and some vegetables, and can be kept at bay by favouring natural populations of phytoseids (their enemies).


Source: Las Provincias
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Worldwide boom in organics

New method to test whether your fruit and vegetables are truly organic 

The consumption of fresh organics for healthy living is now a global phenomenon.

While consumers in Denmark, Germany or Switzerland are already accustomed to seeing organic and conventional products share shelves in their supermarkets, until a few years ago, this was unthinkable in other regions of the world. However, imports of fresh organic produce are increasing globally and gaining more followers every day.

Dubai’s Fruit Line Trading Est develops food service
and zero-waste protocol for organic produce 

Imports represent more than 90% of the firm’s business and have grown on average by 30% for the past three years. These products consist mainly of citrus, apples, pears, grapes and kiwi from the US, South America, Europe, South Africa, China and the Middle East. This year, Fruit Line Trading Est is focused more on key accounts, like supermarkets, with whom it is seeking to establish long-term strategic relationships. Jamal El Kari, Trading Est’s manager for Khat AlFakeha, said, “We have started developing our food service area which is going to grow, particularly with the new Vision for KSA 2030, which focuses on tourism. We are based in the capital of Saudi Arabia in the Fruit & Vegetables Central Wholesale Market and are looking forward to opening our branch in Jeddah City, which will capture both Jeddah and Makka and target the pilgrimage seasons as well.” In the area of sustainability, the firm has developed a food service segment that includes organic and zero-residue products. Corporate responsibility is a key value for the firm and its trading company, Khat AlFakeha.

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Nigerian government plans to spread organic agriculture

Nigerian government plans to spread organic agriculture


Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has announced its intention to expand its production of organic produce across the country, as reported by The announcement was made by Isa Adamu of the ministry’s organic division at the annual National Organic Agriculture Business Summit (NOABS) in Nigeria. Adamu pointed to the economic and health opportunities offered by organic agriculture. The north of the country is considered the bread basket. “We want Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) to find itself in Borno, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kaduna and all states in northern Nigeria like what is obtainable in the south,’’ said Adamu.

Professor Victor Olowe, president of the Association of Organic Agriculture Practitioners of Nigeria, bemoaned the fact that although the world’s organic agriculture sector is worth US$100 billion, Africa contributes just 3% of the total, adding that Nigeria now must become a central player in the global trade, given its potential.

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Carrefour opens specialist organic store in Poland

Carrefour opens specialist organic store in Poland


Poland’s first Carrefour BIO store was opened on November 15, 2019 in the centre of Warsaw. Poland thus becomes the fourth country, after France, Spain and Belgium, to see the concept of Carrefour BIO stores. The first Carrefour BIO offers 153 m² of commercial space and a 27 m² coffee corner with free wifi. A wide and varied offer of approximately 2,500 products awaits customers, 80% of which are organic products, with the remaining ones dedicated to vegans and people with gluten and lactose intolerance. The Carrefour BIO store assortment includes 250 types of fresh products, including vegetables and fruit sold by weight, meat, fish, as well as 2,200 packaged products, including wines and other alcohols. There are also 250 Carrefour BIO private label products available in the store.

The latest concept includes the possibility of buying 50 loose products by weight, among them are cereal, macaroni, legumes, coffee, as well as a wide selection of dried fruit and nuts. Tea and spice lovers can choose from 24 types of these products displayed in glass jars. The Carrefour BIO store also offers freshly baked bread, as well as cold meats, organic cheeses, cakes and delicatessen products sold in traditional counters. In addition to food products, the store also has a zone of make-up products, natural cosmetics and eco-detergents.

The Carrefour BIO also has a “Food to Go” zone that offers healthy snacks, soups as well as bio sandwiches prepared on site. In addition, freshly ground organic coffee and freshly squeezed organic fruit juices await customers. In the store it is possible to use your own packaging, e.g. when buying coffee or weight products. An additional option for customers looking for products directly from farmers are collection in the store of orders processed via the platform. The latest concept uses less waste solutions and ecological equipment, e.g. the floor is made of approximately 50% recycled material, and energy-saving refrigerators are powered by propane-butane.

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Lidl launches innovative organic vegetable labelling

Lidl launches innovative organic vegetable labelling

Lidl Poland has begun labelling its organic vegetables using a non-invasive laser technique to avoid using packaging, paper, ink or glue, reports The technique is already being used with the retailer’s organic butternut squash and celery, as of the beginning of December. The technique is entirely safe and does not affect the structure and nutritional value of the products in any way, leaving just a “tattoo” on the vegetable using a concentrated light beam. Information that these are organic products can be found directly on the skin.

The Schwarz Group, which includes Lidl and Kaufland, is one of the largest retailers on the international stage. The Group has developed a comprehensive REsetPlastic strategy aimed at reducing waste, recycling, eliminating plastics, and education.

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Biofach 2017 – Germany, country of the year

Biofach 2017: Germany, country of the year – the German organic sector will be presented at the world’s leading exhibition

The organic community comes to Germany every year and meets at Biofach, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, and Vivaness, the International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care, in Nuremberg.

The next event, from February 15-18, 2017, will pay particular attention to the German organic sector under the heading Building an Organic Future – Bio schafft Zukunft.

Germany will be the country of the year for Biofach 2017.

Within the framework of this presentation, the sector and NürnbergMesse place particular emphasis on innovations, international relations and responsibility as the fundamental aspects of a forward-looking market.

Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt said organic products are becoming increasing popular with consumers. “Organic farming is now an important pillar of German agriculture and the German food industry, alongside conventional farming. My goal is to further increase the production of organic products in Germany.

“This is one reason why I initiated the Organic Farming – Looking Forwards strategy, which I am going to present at Biofach 2017. With Germany’s appearance as country of the year at Biofach 2017, the German organic sector can present its entrepreneurial spirit, its great capacity for innovation and the responsibility that it is accepting throughout the world,” Schmidt said.

Biofach 2017

  • Slogan: “Germany – Building an Organic Future”
  • Central themes: nurture progress – increase responsibility
  • In focus: innovations and international relations

More information: