Wellingtonians driving organic food mainstream

22:04, Mar 04 2013
Marion Hood
MARION HOOD: Business is growing fast.

A desire for safe, high quality food that tastes "just like off my grandfather's tree", is behind a boom in organic produce, says Wellington greengrocer Commonsense Organics.

The organics 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.

Commonsense Organics managing director Marion Wood said her business had grown fast in recent years. The demand for products had expanded so fast she had doubled the size of two stores and still did not have enough room.

"We can't keep up and we'd love to see more organic vege growers."

Buyers of organic food were no longer considered on the fringes of society. "They are foodies, mothers - people who want the best for their families. Organics has become mainstream."

Researchers from the University of Otago and the Agribusiness Group say in a report to be released tomorrow that between 2009 and 2012 sales of organic food and beverage increased at an average of 8 per cent a year.


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 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 than three years ago.

The organic domestic retail sector has also experienced strong growth.

The Dominion Post