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What is it and why does it matter?

A holistic system of farming and food production that adheres to strict standards designed to benefit the environment and wildlife. This includes, for example, a ban on the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and on the use of growth hormones for livestock. Only food that is certified to organic standards can be labelled as organic. 

Agenda setters see organic farming as niche, and not scalable, but consumers are willing to pay a premium for it. However, for consumers it is more about health and naturalness than about sustainability. Customers are responding to consumer demands by looking for more organic suppliers, especially with COVID accelerating more of a focus on what consumers eat.


Of meat buyers believe that “supporting organic farming and food production” is important when choosing a supplier, compared to other sustainability attributes


Of UAE consumers say organic influences their grocery choices ​


Organic to leap on from COVID boom?

A significant boom in organic sales in the US was reported in 2020 as food sales increased 13%. This has been driven by health concerns coming into greater focus.

Insights from 

Agenda Setters 

Organic farming is viewed by  expert stakeholders as a niche area that should remain niche. It is not viewed as a scalable, mainstream solution to sustainable farming. Sustainability leads recognise the positive light in which consumers see organic – especially during COVID … often citing it as the gold standard for naturalness.

The key themes of the topic are:​

  • Health benefits (and broader wellness trend)​
  • Linked to chemical / additive free​
  • Boost from health concerns during COVID


Buyers see organic as a mid-tier topic for their own business, and when choosing a supplier. It resonates more in the US and in the meat sectors. Certainly, the discussion around organic is much further on in Western markets.


Interestingly, while consumers do not associate sustainability with organic, they do feel that organic is a shorthand for quality with many willing to pay a premium for it. Instead it is closely associated with better health and being more natural, something consumers are searching for particularly in the last 2 years. Organic is most capable of commanding a premium in UAE and France in particular.

Agenda Setters -

Now consumers say whatever goes inside my body has to be natural without chemicals. So organic, healthy products like the GMO free …those are the products which are gaining a lot of popularity …they have to pay some 20-30% premium on those products, but they're happy to invest that in their health
Insights & Implications
Insights & Implications

Review the headline insights from the Global Food Sustainability Outlook research.

Review the Insights & Implications