The organic produce market is flourishing despite tough economic times, growing 25 per cent in the past three years - from $275 million in 2009 to $350m in 2012, according to the latest research.
At a time of global recession, when demand for high quality foods has been depressed, sales of organic food and beverage have increased at an average of 8 per cent a year, say researchers from the University of Otago and the Agribusiness Group.
Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, the sector umbrella group which commissioned the report is delighted.
"People here and abroad are seeking out food they can trust and enjoy," says OANZ chairman Brendan Hoare. "As well as growing, the organic sector is diversifying and deepening. There's room for everyone to join in."
Highlights from the research:
* Organic wine is fastest-growing. More than 100 organic vineyards are operating, representing 7.6 per cent of all New Zealand vineyards.
* Organic dairy continues to grow rapidly - 33 per cent since 2009.
* Organic gardening at home, in schools and in especially in community gardens is growing fast. There are now 3-4 times more organic community gardens in New Zealand than there were five years ago.
* Organic beverage exports (wine, beer, fruit juices, soft drinks) are now worth $29m - 70 per cent more more than three years ago.
* The organic domestic retail sector has also experienced strong growth, and is now worth between $126m and $133m - a 27 per cent increase on what it was worth in 2009.
* The world's first indigenous organic verification system, Te Hua Parakore, was launched in 2011, and is now setting a world benchmark for production by first nations people.
* New markets for organics are growing - especially in Asia, with South Korea (11 per cent of organic exports) overtaking Japan (9 per cent) as the largest Asian market for NZ organics.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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