Demand for organic coffee increasing in Europe

Europe is the world’s largest coffee market. It is also a leading market for organic products. This combination makes Europe an interesting destination for organic coffee. Although still considered a niche market, the demand for organic coffee is expected to grow strongly soon. This growth is mainly due to sustainability concerns and growing consumer interest in healthy living.

The European Union (EU) imported 130 thousand tonnes of organic coffee imports in 2019. That is 3.5% of the total EU coffee imports. These amounts show that the organic segment within the European coffee market is still a niche market. Still, EU organic coffee imports increased by 12% between 2018 and 2019. Further growth is expected, given the size of the European coffee market and the growing demand for organic produce in Europe.

Snapshot of the European organic market

European organic retail sales nearly reached €41 billion in 2018, which is about 42% of global organic sales. According to the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, European organic retail sales had an average yearly increase of 12% between 2014 and 2018. Growth in organic food sales is expected to continue. This is mainly due to growing consumer interest in healthy living, and the idea that organic is healthier and safer than conventional products. The current COVID-19 health crisis has also increased demand for organic foods.

The growing interest in healthy living in Europe means that consumers are willing to pay more for organic products. Over the years, the average European per capita consumption of organic food increased from €34 per person in 2014 to nearly €51 in 2018. To compare: the world average per capita consumption of organic food was a little less than €13 per person in 2018.

Growing availability of organic coffee

Today, most organic products are sold via supermarkets. Over the years, supermarkets have increased and expanded their offer of organic products and coffees. Many more organic coffees in the private label segment have been added to the shelves. In general, coffee is one of the most popular private label items at supermarkets. Private label products are more and more popular among consumers. They are similar to branded products in terms of quality and characteristics. But they are usually offered at more competitive prices. Retailers play a crucial role in the expansion of organic product availability and affordability.

Interesting European markets for organic coffee

The popularity of organic-certified coffee follows the general European market trend for organic products. This means that markets like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden provide some of the main opportunities. These markets combine high consumer demand for organic products with sizeable coffee consumption.

For example, you may find some of the best opportunities for organic coffee in Germany. This country is Europe’s largest organic market and largest coffee importer. In 2018, German organic retail sales reached almost €11 billion. This amounts to about 27% of the entire European market. In 2018, organic sales increased by 5.5%. For organic coffee, sales increased by 14% in volume in 2019. This is a significantly higher rate than mainstream coffee. The total organic market share in German coffee sales reached an estimated 4.3% in 2019. Exporters should be aware that the market is competitive. Germany is a prime destination for many producers worldwide.

Learn more about developments in the market

Do you want to know more about other European markets? Read our study about exporting organic coffee to Europe. In the study, you will find information about interesting destination markets, trends, and examples of industry players. Visit CBI’s coffee market intelligence page for other studies about promising markets and promising export products, such as speciality coffee.

This news article was written for CBI by Gustavo Ferro and Lisanne Groothuis from Profound – Advisers In Development.

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