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Organic fruit and vegetables are indispensable from shelves these days, and the fresh produce industry will have to keep up. The consumption of organically produced food will only increase, according to Jan Groen of Green Organics. “The last couple of years haven’t been easy, with the crisis and all, but the organic sector has proven to be immune.” Groen sees an annual growth of 4 to 10%.
Ad Lievense van Naturelle notices the same trend: “A lot of growers are making the change to organic. Not only do they adhere to the organic view, they see the market increasing. An interesting development is the growing demand in the canned food industry, a demand we are struggling to meet. To tell you the truth, we can use all the help we can get. Growers who want to tender to the processed food industry by supplying organic produce are more than welcome.”
Foreign competition is not necessarily a threat. “Compared to Eastern Europe we’re on the pricey side. On the other end, our quality is undisputed. People want to pay extra if food safety is guaranteed,” explains Jan.
The fact that organic food is more expensive is because of the costs involved. As no artificial fertilizers and chemicals are allowed, crop yield is usually smaller. However, with new technology the difference is getting smaller, according to Ad Lievense. “There will always be that difference though.”
Publication date: 9/19/2012
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