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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
Source: https://www.gov.uk/

 

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 Leadership.ng. 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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Supplementary feeding of predatory mites with pollen yields exceptional results

Supplementary feeding of predatory mites with pollen yields exceptional results, Erik Boers, Source: Decorum (https://www.decorumplantsflowers.com/)
Erik Boers, Source: Decorum (https://www.decorumplantsflowers.com/)

 

 

Amaryllis grower Erik Boers wants to keep his crop healthy, preferably using biological crop protection. This year he made a single introduction of predatory mites to control thrips and then developed the population using Nutrimite™. He is enthusiastic about the initial results. Meanwhile the mice, which loved the bran component of his previous control strategy, have been outmanoeuvred.

At Erik Boers’ company, thrips are a regular uninvited guest. Erik grows both amaryllis bulbs and flowers on 6.5 hectares. The bulbs, which are grown in open soil, are sold for dry sales while the flowers, cultivated on clay pellets, are marketed during the winter season.

Erik is a member of the Decorum grower cooperative, which sells a fully sustainable range of flowers and plants. With all members Global- or MPS-Gap-certified at the minimum, biological crop protection fits well with the cooperative’s profile.

Closed leaf bud

Fighting disease in Amaryllis is not simple. After the flowers are harvested, the leaves appear. However, the leaf buds are initially so tightly closed that it is difficult to effectively spray them, let alone comprehensively scout for pests and beneficial insects.

“These challenges are further compounded by the fact the crop remains in the ground for three years,” explains Erik. “After harvesting the soil is steamed, parcel by parcel, so we are never able to clean the greenhouse completely – or apply optimum hygiene measures.”

Working with a Biobest competitor, three years ago Erik’s first attempted to control thrips using Amblyseius swirskii and introduced cultivation sachets several times. The sachets were filled with predatory mites, bran and factitious prey. “What we hadn’t counted on were the mice,” says Erik. “During the summer months they were attracted by the smell of the bran – I even saw them running around with sachets in their mouths! It was not a satisfactory solution, to say the least.”

Offering food

This year Eric decided to try a different biological pest control strategy in a newly replanted section of the glasshouse. He chose the Biobest strategy – featuring a combination of Swirskii-Breeding-System and Nutrimite™ – a system avoiding the need to continually reintroduce sachets. Crop Protection Specialist, Marvin Koot, advised Eric to introduce Swirskii-Breeding-System just once in early spring to develop a population of predatory mites for the entire cultivation year.

“Immediately after the flower harvest, there were insufficient thrips in the greenhouse to sustain the predatory mites,” says Marvin. “It was therefore necessary to provide the mites with sufficient food to sustain them. Our feed supplement Nutrimite™, based on specially selected pollen, has proved ideal.”

Since introducing the predatory mites, every fourteen days the team has manually blown in the pollen. “You can barely see it, but it does work,” says Erik. “In fact, it worked exceptionally well.”

Later on during the growing period, just to be sure, he introduced some loose predatory mites in one variety. While occasionally he still sees a few thrips, the pest is now well under control. “When it comes to thrips control, this ‘test’ has been a success,” says Erik. “Although it would be helpful to automate the dispersion process to simplify application.”

Cooling period

Prior to flowering, the crop is cooled and the leaves removed. At this point, both the thrips and predatory mites disappear. In theory, the predatory mites could survive this period, as they can tolerate temperatures as low as 13°C. However, before the start of flowering, growers traditionally spray against other pests which means new predatory mites need to be introduced in spring.

“As things stand, you can’t rely solely on biological crop protection,” explains Erik. “You have to occasionally take action against mealybug, narcissus mite, cicadas and caterpillars – however, we are tending more and more to go biological.”

Unique combination

Eric chose Biobest as its partner because of the unique combination of predatory mites and supplementation with pollen – a combination other suppliers do not offer. Supplementation with factitious prey does not appeal to him, because the carrier falls into the heart of the plant and bulb and can rot.

Erik is also pleased with the advice he receives from Biobest with Marvin paying regular visits every fourteen days to discuss and adjust the strategy as necessary.

“We are seeing growing interest in this strategy,” says Marvin. “This year we have added several new customers growing Amaryllis.”

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

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

Danish scientists have developed a new method for identifying whether or not a potato is organic, thereby helping consumers avoid being duped. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have devised an approach that looks at how organic plants are fertilised, as this provides a deeper, more accurate portrayal of whether eco-labelled produce is indeed organic. The method provides more details about on how a product was cultivated. Focusing on the isotope signature in a plant by isolating sulphate, a chemical compound can reveal how a particular plant was grown. Humans, animals and plants all have isotope signatures that provide information about the environment in which they live and what they consume.

Imported organic fruits and vegetables are susceptible to food fraud and the number of falsely eco-labelled produce is unknown because fertilisation methods remain untested.

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US organics – too expensive?

US organics – too expensive?

 

The US organic sector is at a turning point. The segment has now become mainstream, with organic products found in nearly every kitchen across the country. The success of natural foods supermarkets has pushed all forms of retail to get in on the act, with plenty of margin for value added in this category. Nearly 75% of conventional grocery stores in the US stock organic products and there are around 20,000 natural foods stores. Kroger’s Simple Truth organic products brand had the highest sales in 2018, at US$2 billion.

However, according to USDA data, organic foods only account for between 4%-5% of total US grocery sales. This is perhaps because organic products are so pricey. For this percentage to rise, it may require a change to the three-tier distribution system whereby organic products go through distributors who take a margin, thus adding to the retail price.

 

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ECO-FORUM Syngenta- Zeraim

ECO-FORUM Syngenta- Zeraim

The challenges for pepper and organic production debated in Almería

The consistency of the Spanish and European pepper market, its challenges and the prospects for expansion over the coming years thanks to continuous research of new varieties of resistant seeds: this was the starting point of a professional day of great interest held in El Ejido, Almería, under the organisational umbrella of the firms Syngenta and Zeraim. At the ‘Eco-Forum’, numerous professionals came from the fields of production, marketing and research to share their knowledge and analyse the landscape of the sector. All of the presentations had a point in common: the promising and expansive current state and the short and medium term projection of the organic products market, which is already a consolidated trend on a global scale.

Spain, which has grown at a rate of 7% in the last year and had already exported over 700,000 tons in the previous three years, is still the largest European pepper seller and second in the world, only to Mexico, which sells 95% of its production to the United States. In 2016, 3.5 million tons of pepper were exported worldwide, confirming the great boom of this product since the turn of the century (in 2000, one million tons sold to foreign markets), as explained by the editor of Eurofresh Distribution, Pierre Escodo, who coordinated the debate.

In Spain, the geographical area of ​​the southeast (Almeria, Murcia and south of Alicante) produces almost all of the volumes for export of this vegetable, as outlined by the CEO of Coexphal Almeria, Juan Colomina. In 2018, 745,901 tons of pepper was exported from Spain – an increase of 181,000 tons in the last six years. The head of Proexport Region of Murcia, Fernando Gómez, stressed that almost all of that increase (161,000 tons) comes from Andalusia (mainly Almeria), which is also seeing strong growth in organic production despite not yet reaching the region of Murcía, a territory that already integrates biological control at 95% of its farms and that in 5 years expects 50% of its production of California pepper to be organic.

One of the most striking conclusions of the day was the confirmation that the Spanish pepper is already available for the European market 365 days a year. Speaking about the organic landscape, Gómez also stressed the need to sustain the growth in the extension of organic crops according to market demands, encouraging farmers who grow conventional products to switch to organic farming. It offers an undoubted added value, “only if they have an adequate business plan”. He also highlighted the need for a union between the producers of southeastern Spain and the ‘battle’ that they are proposing in Brussels so that the hydroponic crop can also be certified as organic.

The Eco-Forum of Syngenta and Zeraim devoted space to the certification of organic production and the different regulations in the countries inside and outside of the European market. Juan Manuel Sánchez, director of certification of the CAAE – Europe’s largest certifier by area – stressed the difficulty of competing with the organic producers of the United States or other countries which have much less demanding regulations. In the case of Spain, there are inequalities even within the different regions, giving the example of Andalusia, where there is a regime of very strict sanctions and regulatory requirements, which complicates the path for producers who decide to go green.

In spite of the exporting importance of the Spanish pepper, there is weak domestic consumption of this vegetable. Some varieties that are widely exported to other markets such as Germany or France are almost unknown by Spanish consumers. Despite the fact that pepper consumption grew in 2018, it is still below the values ​​of previous years.

The British market was another focus of the day, with the contribution of the expert consultant in the UK, José Miguel Flavián, who highlighted the peculiarities of the ‘British’ market, the third largest in Europe (after Germany and France) and the ninth globally. The UK market has seen significant growth in organic production and has demanding consumers.

In this regard, consultant David del Pino spoke of the values ​​related to health, well-being and the environment that currently drive the most important worldwide consumption trend, emphasising the ‘hygienic’ factors that every producer has to comply with scrupulously if they do not want to lose a significant market share or shatter their credibility with consumers. Del Pino calls this a “new religion” and estimates that it will continue to be a determining factor in markets in the near future, “whatever is sustainable or healthy”. And, in his opinion, “what is healthy is what the consumer identifies as healthy, whether it is or not”. At this point, he moved on to discuss the current trend for “the local” product, which in many markets like the US is as popular, or more so, among consumers than organics.

Flavián noted that the UK market has its own characteristics, such as the well-established online channel (number one in Europe), thanks to the great confidence brought by its good functioning, closely related to organics, which are showing very good results in online sales. Or the ‘convenience’ models of small stores, which are comparable in importance to large-scale distribution. He also highlighted the effect of market introspection that Brexit is causing, which has led to a decline in imports and leaves the sector in great uncertainty in relation to tariffs and other consequences that could result from the UK’s exit from the European Union. This is generating some distortion in the commercial relations of other countries with the British Isles.

Research represented another fundamental aspect of the Eco-Forum held in Almeria. Zyngenta-Zeraim is a global reference in this field thanks to the different lines it operates to generate seeds resistant to diseases that, until now, can only be fought externally with phytosanitary products and, in many cases, with poor results. The brand has an extensive catalogue of 16 pepper varieties resistant to Oidium and Nematodes, developed by its extensive breeding team, which includes the speakers José Antonio Chicón and Víctor Domínguez, and that has R & D stations spread all over the world (Spain, United States, Holland, India, Kenya, Thailand). The objective in the short and medium term is to generate seeds that can also resist phytohpthora, WF, thrips, botrytis, aphid or TSWV: P1. Without a doubt, there can be no better proof of the fact that organic farming is progressively eliminating products to fight diseases, thanks to the resistance that practically all seeds, pepper and other crops, will have in the not too distant future.

 

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German retail chains control two-thirds of organic segment

German retail chains control two-thirds of organic segment

Competition in Germany’s retail sector is heating up with powerful rivals battling to secure the lucrative and growing organic market. The sector currently controls two-thirds of the country’s organic market and is showing no signs of stopping there. Lidl has launched its own organic brand of dairy products sold under the Bioland, with the slogan: “Well. Better. Bioland”. The retailers’ are not merely following EU organic guidelines, but going well beyond, with even the discount chains focusing on better quality. Aldi is currently considered market leader in Germany’s organic retail sector, where competition is focusing more on outdoing rivals more in terms of quality than by undercutting them with low prices.

Source: International Supermarket News