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BioTropic GmbH supports organic farmers worldwide

BioTropic GmbH supports organic farmers worldwide

BioTropic GmbH is successfully supporting small growers to meet the EU-requirements for organic farming. That´s why during this year, several PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) projects of BioTropic have been co-financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. “In a current PPP in Costa Rica, a massive production of organic curcuma and ginger will be improved by training local farmers,” said export manager Udo Bürk.

BioTropic has its own banana and mango ripening chambers in Duisburg, as well as commercial offices in Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, and its own production for tropical fruit in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Ivory Coast, all of them exceeding the principal quality standards, such as EU-organic, Demeter, Naturland, and Fair Trade.

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Record exports of Chilean organic blueberries

Record exports of Chilean organic blueberries

The 2019/20 Chilean blueberry season is drawing to a close, with exports down 1.5 per cent to 109,291 tons. In a statement, ASOEX stated that the decline in volume was to be expected given the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in the key Chinese market. “Due to the Coronavirus in China, the market in that country was paralysed after the Chinese New Year for at least three weeks, affecting a portion of containers arrived on those days.”

North America, which accounts for 52% of Chile’s blueberry exports, recorded an 11% drop in volume. By contrast, shipments to Europe were up 8%, and now represent 32% of the overall volume. There was a jump in exports to the Asian markets (+20%), which now account for 15% of the overall share.

Meanwhile, Chile’s organic blueberry shipments continued their upward trend, reaching a record 15,470 tons (+16%). Once again, the North American market is the main destination (77%) followed by Europe (23%).

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Global organic market expands 2.9%

Global organic market expands 2.9%
© Alexandra Sautois, Eurofresh Distribution

 

A study published by FiBL and IFOAM titled The World of Organic Agriculture found that between 2017 and 2018, the world’s production of organic agriculture grew by 2.9%, with double-digit growth recorded in some markets. Global organic agricultural farmland increased by two million hectares in 2018 and organic sales are estimated to have surpassed the US$100 billion for the first time, according to market research company, Ecovia Intelligence.

The largest organic market is the US (€40.6bn), followed by Germany (€10.9bn) and France (€9.1bn), with the French market growing by over 15% in 2018. The highest per capita consumption of organics is in Denmark and Switzerland, with an average outlay per person of €312. Denmark has the highest penetration of organics in the shopping basket (11.5% of total food sales).

The world had a reported 2.8 million organic producers in 2018. India alone has over a million, followed by Uganda (210,000) and Ethiopia (204,000). Australia has by far the largest organic planted area (35.7 million ha), followed by Argentina (3.4 million ha). As yet, 1.5% of global farmland is organic, but its share is increasing. Liechenstein has the highest proportion of organic agricultural land (38.5%), followed by Samoa (34.5%) and Austria (24.7%).

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Roadmap to save California agriculture

Roadmap to save California agriculture

A new project outlines how organic and more sustainable farming practices can offer a means to save California, which is currently facing a climate crisis, with rising temperatures, frequent heat waves and wildfires. Years of drought have created limited water supplies and the disruption of normal ecosystems. California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) has released the second part of a research project that investigates how organic farming can represent a solution to some of the gravest issues facing California and the world today. The Roadmap to an Organic California: Policy Report posits that organic agriculture is a solution to the changing climate, economic insecurity and health inequities. By building healthy soils that store carbon and water, by creating jobs and reinvesting dollars into local economies, and by providing healthy food and protecting the environment, the Roadmap concludes that organic is critical to securing California’s future.

The Roadmap outlines tangible policy recommendations such as integrating organic into California’s climate strategy by building healthy soils, investing in water efficiency programmes to secure California’s water supply, investing more in organic research and technical assistance to build farm resilience, and conserving California’s dwindling farmland to maximise carbon capture.

The Roadmap also offers social recommendations, such as supporting organic farmers to comply with regulations and maintain viability, investing in farmworker housing, transportation and pathways to citizenship, integrating organic agriculture and business into economic development planning, and cultivating the next generation of organic farmers with access to capital, land tenure education, financial and legal services.

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Bioworld expands with growing market demand

Job van den Berg on Bioworld stand at Fruit Logistica 2020 // © Eurofresh Distribution

 

Bioworld started as a vegetable trader and now specialises in growing organic vegetables for the European market. Since its shift, Bioworld has expanded from greenhouse vegetables to open field crops. “Our philosophy as a company is to supply organic vegetables all-year-round,” said Job van den Berg, managing director of Bioworld. Bioworld has invested in 24 hectares of land in the Netherlands and 40 hectares in Spain to meet the growing demand. It also focuses on importing sweet potatoes, avocados, ginger, turmeric, and pineapples.

Currently, Bioworld’s top markets are Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavian countries. The demand for organic products in this region is increasing. “People in these markets are becoming more conscious. The market wants to know where the product is sourced,” says Van den Berg.

Germany remains the biggest market in terms of volume. “German supermarkets helped in the growth of demand. Because of Germany’s size and population, a 7% market share is comparably bigger than a 15% market share in Denmark,” adds Van den Berg. Aside from retailers, Bioworld also supplies to wholesale companies and is expanding to the industrial and the foodservice sector.

Furthermore, the market behaviour in Europe is moving towards health and environmental consciousness. “There are consumers that know organic products are beneficial to their health, and to the environment. That market is growing, and people are willing to pay more, but the price is definitely a factor they consider. Consumers are also demanding less plastic packaging. This is a challenge because some products without plastic seals will have shorter shelf-life. We are developing the right packaging to meet the consumer’s demands,” said Van den Berg.

Along with the growing demand for the product is the challenge of the lower costs of its competitors. Bioworld faces the threat of competitors who do not fully comply with the standards needed for organic production but still brand themselves as organic. Van den Berg remains confident that the company can overcome these kinds of challenges. “Retailers are prioritising reputation and track record. I would say, Bioworld is the biggest company dedicated to and specialised in producing organic produce in the Netherlands,” adds Van den Berg.

Bioworld is now moving forward in improving precision in production and developing packaging alternatives for its products. The firm will also be launching a global campaign next month to promote organic food called “I am Earth”. It also runs a bee conservation programme called Bee Earth.

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BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2020: Combined trade fair hits new high of 3,792 exhibitors

BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2020: Combined trade fair hits new high of 3,792 exhibitors

The combined trade fair of BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food, and VIVANESS, the International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care, has been more international and diverse than ever before when it opened its doors at Exhibition Centre Nuremberg from 12 – 15 February. Both shows were setting new records for exhibitor numbers, display area and international focus. A total of 3,792 exhibitors – 292 of them at VIVANESS – from 110 countries has showcased their products to the trade public on a display area measuring 57,609 m2. BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2020 were offering even more diversity than ever, in two additional halls. The approaches that the organic system already offers for resolving urgent issues affecting the future has been discussed by the organic sector as part of the congress theme “Organic delivers!”, while water has been the focus of the special show “All about water – is the basis of life endangered?”. The key trends at BIOFACH this year were “Packaging”, “Vegan 2.0”, “Open Pollinated Varieties” and “Region 2.0”, while VIVANESS has been highlighting “Zero Waste bathroom”, “All about hemp”, “Dental Care” and “Packaging”.

Petra Wolf, Member of the Management Board of NürnbergMesse, said: “With BIOFACH and VIVANESS you get two trade fairs, one date, one venue, four days and a comprehensive overview of the worldwide organic food and natural and organic cosmetic sectors along the entire supply chain. In 2020, the combined trade fair will be more diverse than ever and will emphatically reinforce its role as the international gathering for the sector. With its excellent supporting programme and “Organic delivers!” as the congress theme, this is the starting point from where the future is being shaped by the sector.”

 

Source: Press release
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“Boosting the organic sector by integrating breeding into value chain partnerships” workshop

"Boosting the organic sector by integrating breeding into value chain partnerships" workshop

FiBL workshop “Boosting the organic sector by integrating breeding into value chain partnerships” focused yesterday morning (13/02/2020) on how to foster and finance the breeding and the selection of organic varieties. It was organised with the collaboration of Eurofresh Distribution magazine, OPTA, Cotton Accelerator and Econatura.

Still less than 30% of organic crops come from organic seed & plants in Europe (less than 10% worldwide). Major changes shall happen by 2036 to fulfill with the new EU regulation.

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BIOFACH2020: focus on vegan labels

The Vegan Society promotes the certified animal free products with the Vegan Trademark
Credit: Pierre Escodo

 

The Vegan Society promotes the certified animal free products from all level in the chain, with for example the non-animal and organic fertiliser. Indeed, animal compost and animal proteins have a much higher carbon footprint than vegetal compost and plant-based proteins… Therefore, ‘Vegan experience hub’ was created at Biofach fair to learn more about this kind of products.

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POLOmarket, unmatched in fast deliveries 

POLOmarket, unmatched in fast deliveries 

Fresh organic produce is on the rise for the number-one Polish retailer

The Polish retail market is in constant transformation to adjust to the shifting requirements of customers. Poland’s shoppers demand fresh and good quality produce on store shelves 24 hours a day, making well-organised logistics and fast transport crucial. POLOmarket is the largest retail network solely reliant on Polish financing. Established in the Kujawy region, POLOmarket has grown to comprise approximately 400 retail locations in small and medium-size towns as well as in larger conurbations throughout the country. It serves around 9 million shoppers every month. “We are the fastest in delivering fresh produce in Poland. Our chain sells goods worth €823 million per year,” said Dawid Mizera, category manager. “However, the crucial asset of our chain is our well-organised logistics, particularly for transporting fresh fruits and vegetables.” 

Fresh organic produce is a growing trend 

“For now, sales of organic products are rising slowly, but the trend is stable and its share of fresh produce has increased in the last two years,” said Mizera. The buzzword most frequently used in POLOmarket’s marketing is ‘Polish shop’ to highlight how the stores’ fresh produce comes from local Polish farmers. POLOmarket has also invested in environmental protection by withdrawing foil bags and replacing them with paper bags. As Mizera underlines, Polish customers are now more open to purchasing fresh organic bananas, tomatoes, cabbages or cucumbers in every POLOmarket store. “Now we intend to add our own brand of organic fruits, vegetables, juices and nectars ‘Zaczarowany Ogród’ (Enchanted Garden), with which we will offer more organic fresh produce in addition to our conventional products,” said Mizera.  

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Japanese supermarket giant Aeon, in online grocery push

AEON organic retail store

AEON organic retail store

Credit: Aeon

 

 

Aeon is partnering with British online grocery pioneer Ocado to launch a new company by March 2020 that will use AI and robotics to deliver a cutting-edge digital experience. Also, as a sustainability initiative, Aeon has set up a platform to help boost organic farming in Japan, where demand is outstripping supply of organic food.

 

Fresh food delivery has yet to truly take off among the Japanese, who largely still pick up fresh produce on a daily basis. But with better logistic networks and different demographics – such as more dual-income households and senior citizens – that’s forecast to change. And with AmazonFresh already in Tokyo, and Walmart (owner of Aeon rival Seiyu) beefing up its online grocery delivery together with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, it’s no surprise that supermarket Aeon is also making the leap. In a statement in November, Aeon said it will leverage Ocado’s world leading know-how to launch and operate “the next generation online supermarket.” It plans to open its first customer fulfilment centre harnessing the Ocado Smart Platform by 2023 to serve Japan’s Kanto region, followed by others over the following two years in order to eventually serve the whole country. And it anticipates achieving online grocery sales of about 600 billion yen (about €4.92b) by 2030. “Aeon will realise a highly efficient operations and distribution system to deliver ‘anytime, anywhere, anything’ through a superb application interface to meet our customer needs. It is expected that these technologies can be utilised for the existing Aeon online supermarket business, store pick up, click & collect,” the company said in a press release. Aeon also plans to seek more partners both in Japan and around the world in order to be at the forefront of the digital era. Ocado, it should be mentioned, has also been chosen as a partner by other major supermarket groups around the world, including Kroger in the US, Casino in France, Marks & Spencer in the UK, ICA in Sweden and Coles in Australia.

Produce from farms run by Aeon Agri Create // Credit: Aeon

 

A platform to boost organic production 

Two other key initiatives from Aeon are in the area of organic food. Back in 2017, among the sustainable procurement goals the group set itself was that of boosting the sales ratio of organic products to 5% of all its agricultural products by 2020, also when Tokyo will host the summer Olympics. Aeon says it wants to contribute to “human, social and environmental health” through organic products, furthermore ones that are “cultivated, distributed and consumed naturally.” It also says it is “responding to our customer demands for safer, better tasting, and environmentally friendly food products.” However, while interest in organic produce is on the rise in Japan, “supply of organic products has not caught up with growing consumer demand,” it says, and “organic JAS certified producers in Japan account for only 0.2% of all farmers.” Given this context, in September 2019 the retailer announced another initiative, the new Aeon Organic Alliance (AOA). In a statement, it said this platform will boost the supply of organic products and help farmers overcome the burden of high organic cultivation costs and those incurred due to inefficient distribution, as well as giving them opportunities to gain new skills, exchange information and share and solve issues together. The AOA platform will be used to “centrally manage production, procurement, processing, distribution, and sale of organic agriculture products.”

Organic produce in Bio c’ Bon store in Japan // Credit: Aeon

 

14 new organic stores in Japan

AOA members will also have access to technological know-how for the acquisition of Global G.A.P. and organic JAS certification. Aeon has acquired such expertise via the 20 farms it directly manages across Japan. The farms are operated by the company Aeon Agri Create and three hold organic JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) certification, one of which is the fully organic 16 ha Saitama Hidaka Farm. Aeon’s organic farms will serve as distribution bases that collect products from growers who are members of its organic alliance, thus reducing distribution and delivery costs while also facilitating joint purchasing of materials necessary for cultivation, which in turn lowers costs. Furthermore, an AOA website will share what is happening in stores, including customer feedback, product line-ups, and sales performance, as well as overseas trends and other relevant information. It will also serve as a communication platform for connecting producers. Another group subsidiary, Aeon Topvalu, develops Aeon’s private brand for organics, Topvalu Gurinai, which is sold in group stores across Japan. Also providing a sales outlet for organic produce in Japan are the Bio c’Bon stores operated by Aeon in partnership with French firm Bio c’ Bon. There are now 14 such stores in Japan.