Price turns off Spanish organic shoppers

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Organic food, Spain

Spain is one of the biggest producers of organic food in Europe,
but the vast majority of its output is exported. Domestic shoppers
are put off by the high price of organic food and by the fact that
it is frequently hard to find, government figures show.

Spanish consumers are turning away from organic food because of the high cost, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA).

Some 90 per cent of the country's organic food output was exported last year, and Spanish consumers bought just 0.3 per cent of the total organic food produced there, the government figures showed.

Spain is the fourth largest producer of organic food in Europe and the eighth largest in the world, with more than 665,000 hectares of agricultural land dedicated to organic production.

The total value of the country's organic food sector is estimated at around €173.9 million, with some €62 million of that coming from one region alone - Andalusia.

But the MAPA figures show that there is little enthusiasm for organic food among Spanish consumers, with the cost, and the difficulty in finding products in the larger retail outlets, largely to blame.

Over 99 per cent of all the organic fruit and vegetables produced in Spain are sold outside the country, and these are by far the most popular organic products, accounting for more than half of organic industry revenues last year.

Organic olive oil accounts for around 40 per cent of output, while dried fruit has a 3 per cent share.

Despite the lack of interest at home, organic production has grown steadily in Spain, with the number of hectares set aside increasing by 4,000 per cent over the last five years, according to the statistics.

Andalusia has the most land set aside for organic production - 225, 599 ha or 34 per cent of the total - followed by Extremadura (164,340 ha or 24.7 per cent) and Aragon (66,374 ha or 10 per cent).

Prices rise across the board

But organic products are not the only ones increasing in price in Spain. The latest government figures show that salad tomatoes, lettuces, green beans and chard all registered substantial increases in September, due mainly to reduced harvests caused by the hot summer weather.

Green bean prices surged 40.7 per cent in September compared to the previous month, putting them 53.4 per cent higher than in the same month a year earlier. Salad tomato prices rose 34.2 per cent in the month and 49.8 per cent year-on-year.

As for fruit, prices for pears dropped by 4.6 per cent for the month but are still 27. 2 per cent higher for the year, while apple prices increased by 6.2 per cent for the month and 10.4 per cent for the year.

Related topics: Retail & Shopper Insights

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