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How are organic products progressing among the main fruit and vegetables categories?

Alimarket FMCG

25 Sep 2019

The progress being made by organic products in the fruit and vegetable sector is continuing apace. Consumers increasingly knowledgeable about their options, and at the same time aware of the importance of food and the environment, favour the development of this market segment, whose consumption seems to have its place assured on Spanish shelves in the future. Demand continues to grow in Europe and, for this continent, Spain is its main supplier. Therefore, more and more fruit and vegetable producers are committing to their cultivation, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Map) is continuing to carry out the Strategy for Organic Production 2018-2020, with four objectives: to promote internal consumption and improve the marketing of organic products, to contribute to a better sectoral structuring of this type of production, to support its growth and consolidation, and to study the role of organic production in environmental policy and the adaptation to climate change.

In this context, within the main categories of fruit and vegetables marketed in hypermarkets and supermarkets nationwide, which organic products are registering the most marked trends? In the following lines we will be analysing the weight that the eco/bio/organic segment has in the global turnover of the main products that are sold in the FMCG channel, according to data from the IRI consultancy exclusively for Alimarket.

Vegetables: tomatoes lead in turnover. And peppers lead in share

If we count the Top 5 by value of sales in the vegetables aisles, tomatoes are in first place in the organic category, following a parallel development to its magnitude as the most important product in this market. Specifically, the turnover of the eco/bio/organic segment of this product - during the floating year posted up to May 2019 by IRI Infoscan - exceeded €5.4 million, with an increase of 10.5% over the same period of the previous year. It must be said that its growth was also parallel to that registered by the tomato globally, also above 10%. Regarding market share, eco/bio/organic items represent 1.1% of global tomato sales.

So, which product has registered the most marked trend? And in which one do sales of organic products have the greatest share compared to “traditional” products? In both cases, the answer is peppers, which easily leads the growth in this market segment. And the share of eco/bio/organic items in total turnover went from 0.8% to 2.7%, which, together with the overall trend in the category (above 11%) has allowed it to go from turnover of €1.40 million to the latest figure of €5.2 million.

Also organic potatoes have a trend in line with the market as a whole, in both cases with rates above 20% (influenced by the price increase), although the share with respect to the category is, for the moment, much more moderate, standing at 0.3%. And, on the other hand, onions and lettuces have a place among the main vegetables, by turnover, sold , although in the last period they registered a decrease compared to the trend of the organic segment. Specifically, onions fell by around 3% (up to €1.2 million and a 0.5% share within the category); while lettuces fell by a larger amount, more than 15%, to about €640,000 and 0.3% of total sales of this product.

Bananas and apples, leading the way in fruit

Let’s turn to the data on the fruit market to continue analysing the sales of the main product groups and the specific weight of the organic segment. Bananas and apples, which together with oranges make up the Top 3 of fruit sales in FMCG, have registered significant growth in eco/organic products, which, in addition, have gained share compared to the previous year. Thus, among the items analysed, bananas are the main ones in terms of their share in organic products, a segment that represented 2% of the total sales obtained in said period. With this, their turnover stood at €10.5 million and grew by more than 30%, also adding 0.3 percentage points.

Apples registered an even greater increase, although it must be taken into account that, in this case, the turnover of the organic product was less than half that of the previous case (€5.5 million). As we said, the trend exceeded 40% and the share of these types of items compared to the apple market as a whole stood at 1.8%, a rise compared to the previous 1.4%.

Another type of fruit occupying the top positions for sales value in the FMCG channel, in addition to oranges, is strawberries. However, the share accounted for by organic products in both cases in their respective categories did not exceed 0.2%, with decreases in turnover compared to the previous period. Said share is affected by the fact that the trend of these types of fruit in the market as a whole is also down.