Sales of organic food continued to rise across Europe during 2011, a trend welcomed by the sector in Ireland.
General manager of the Irish Organic Food Growers’ Association, Gillian Westbrook, said: “This growth trend is seen across much of Europe, with most countries showing an increase in both organic production and sales.
“Economic austerity has apparently not deterred consumers from purchasing organic food.”
The latest figures from Bord Bia on the Spanish market show that despite the economic difficulties in Spain, the organic food sector continues to grow with organic food production rising by 12% in 2010 and 20% in 2011.
Spain is now one of the largest organic producers in Europe. The sector in the country is estimated to be worth €1.3bn, with domestic consumption worth €905m.
Exports are valued at €454m. Imports of organic food are estimated at around €200m with the main suppliers being Germany, France, Britain and the Netherlands.
Ms Westbrook added: “Within an Irish context it highlights the massive potential to export high-quality organic products from Ireland to the rest of the EU and beyond.
“We need to look to countries such as Spain, Germany, France and Austria as the market leaders to see how we can further develop the organic sector here in Ireland.
“We have a marketing advantage as a country that produces natural food so our organic food is much sought after in Europe.”
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