Austria keeps setting the pace when it comes to organic cultivation and consumption. Except for Liechtenstein, Austria has the highest percentage of horticultural land under organic management in Europe. There was a significant increase in the number of Austrian companies that switched to organic farming. That occurred in the 1990s. It was thanks, in part, to financial support.
In 2019, there were an estimated 24,372 organic horticultural holdings in Austria. That amounts to 22% of the total. Organic acreage in that country is thought to be 665,805 ha. The total organic market is believed to be valued at €1,93 billion. Most important organic sales points in Austria are in conventional supermarket chain stores, along with specialized organic shops.
All the large Austrian supermarket chain stores have their own organic label. In 1994, the REWE retail group started with its organic brand, ‘ja! Natürlich’ (yes! Naturally) brand. That was in their BILLA and Merkur stores in Austria. Various supermarket chain stores followed their example. Spar is the second-largest retailer in Austria. They launched their ‘Natur*pur’ brand. Then there is the discounter, Hofer, the country’s third-largest retailer. They, too, introduced their own label, ‘Zurück zum Ursprung’ (Back to the Source).
Consumption of organic products
About nine percent of all fresh foodstuffs in the Austrian retail sector are organic. The sales of organic foods have risen by more than 50% since 2013. This corresponds with a five-times higher growth is conventional food products. The consumption of organic fruit keeps increasing too. The per capita expenditure on organic products in Austria is one of the world’s highest.
Austrian organic farmers are striving to meet consumers’ high demand. Organic foodstuffs have developed from a niche market to having an important share in the market. Almost all Austrian households buy organic products, at least occasionally. This frequency is ever-increasing.
Source: USDA Report