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Belgium shows 37% higher sales of sustainable vegetables

The consumption of sustainable foods in Flanders, Belgium, is on the rise. Compared to 2015, in 2017 sales of sustainable goods more than tripled.

For example, in 2017, the share of sustainable consumption increased to 6.6%. This share is in the total consumption of fresh foods. Categories with a relatively high organic share include eggs and vegetables (as shown). The share of spending on organic vegetables totaled 5,4%.


According to the compilers of the “Monitor duurzame voedselkeuzes” (Monitor of sustainable food choices) report, "This is an opportunity for Flemish agriculture and fisheries. Changing consumption patterns offer chances to add more value to the sustainability efforts. Sustainability is not only an interesting marketing strategy for retailers. This strategy is also of interest to the producers themselves."

Among other things, the following trends in sustainable food consumption are discussed in the report:

- The increasing demand for organic products continued in 2016 and 2017. Its market share remained small.

- Fairtrade is still a stable grower.

- The decrease in revenue in direct sales (farm stalls and farmers' markets) stabilized. In 2017, for the first time, there was even an increase.

- The "sustainable sales" indicator shows the size of the sustainable foods market in 2017. In that year it totaled about EUR585 million. This amount is good for a market share of 6,6%. This is an increase of 1,7 percentage points compared to 2015. Organic, MSC, and ASC are the most important growers.

This figure must be viewed carefully. It is only an indication and does not, given the many restrictions, form a representative value for the consumption of sustainable foods in Flanders. This figure is best used alone as a comparison over time within the report's scope.

According to the researchers, "We have determined that there is a noticeable evolution regarding attitudes. This is in addition to a similar positive evolution in people's purchasing behavior of sustainable foods. The Flemish consumer/citizen is becoming more sustainable and wants to act accordingly."

"At the same time, there is a gap between attitude and behavior. There is a difference between what people deem desirable and the choice they ultimately make. Cost price is an important threshold here. This partially explains why the 'honest prices' sustainability theme is so complex", they say.

Source: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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