Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion. The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, far outpacing the growth rate of other agri-food sectors. A diverse consumer base is driving the sector, with 58% of all Canadians buying organic products every week.
“At the industry's urging, the government implemented strict national standards and label requirements in 2009 to uphold consumer confidence in organic claims,” said Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association, “so it's tremendously gratifying to see this result in such strong market growth and continued consumer commitment to organic.”
In BC, the focus of the first phase of research, two-thirds of consumers—and over three-quarters of Vancouverites—are buying organic groceries weekly. BC generated 23% of the value of the national organic food and beverage market, with strong sales across distribution channels.
“We are pleased to see growing consumer demand and impressive sales growth from mainstream retail to direct-to-consumer channels,” stated Rebecca Kneen, co-president of the Certified Organic Associations of BC.
Funding for this research has been provided through Loblaw Companies, Taste of Nature, UNFI Canada, Whole Foods Market and the Organic Sector Development Program (OSDP). Funding for the OSDP comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, which is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation in British Columbia.
The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based trade association for the organic sector in Canada, representing growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others in the organic value chain. COTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
COTA will have a detailed national market and consumer analysis available in September 2013. The full BC report and national highlights are available at www.ota-canada.ca