Organic foods the trend of the future

By Stephan Maurer

Hamburg – A growing number of consumers worldwide are turning to health foods, with trend researchers predicting a boom in the organic food industry.

In the United States the so-called “Lohas” – Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability consumers – already make up about a third of the population, according to reports.

European manufacturers of organic foods are also rapidly expanding, as demand for healthy foods grows. Sales at German organic supermarket chains grew last year by 10 percent to £3,4-billion (about R23,8-billion).

The German Federation of Organic Foods (BNN), which groups wholesale suppliers in the sector, reported an increase in turnover by 9.6 percent to €477-million.

BNN manager Elke Roeder sees several reasons for the boom.

“Organic foods are 95 percent free of pesticides,” she says. The genetically modified foods debate has also driven many customers to organic food shops. Despite this, organic-food supermarkets only make up three percent of the total retail food trade in the country.

However, trend researcher Eike Wenzel says this could change rapidly as many people yearn to live a healthy life in harmony with nature.

“The organic foods consumer of the future places great value on style and pleasure. The times when environmental sensitivity meant abstaining are over. The sector has become more professional and freed itself of ideology,” Wenzel says.

Most organic food consumers are in the age group 35 to 65 years, have a high education and high income, are health conscious and well informed.

The spokesperson of an organic food chain, Basic AG, Sylvia Raabe, says it would be presumptuous to claim that everybody can afford organic foods. But when normal supermarkets offer products with an “eco” label, interest in organic products grows among all shoppers. – Sapa-dpa