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Organic sales growth slows as some consumers switch away from milk

The growth in sales of organic products has slowed, but is still more than twice that of groceries in general.

Espanjalaisia luomusitruunoita.
Fruit still one of the best-selling organic sectors. Image: Pauliina Tolvanen / Yle
Yle News

Sales of organic items at Finnish grocery stores totalled nearly 350 million euros from July 2018 to the end of June this year, the Finnish Organic Food Association Pro Luomu said on Monday.

That was an increase of about seven percent over the previous year – relatively modest compared to the preceding several years when annual growth was as much as 15 percent. Still, it far outpaced the overall growth in grocery sales, which remained below three percent.

The association's executive director, Marja-Riitta Kottila, says the main change is that sales of organic milk have plateaued.

"Milk is the second-largest organic product group, so it has a big impact. Apparently the public discussion about climate emissions from cattle has encouraged some people to opt for non-dairy products instead of milk," Kottila says.

"Although the climate discussion seems to have reduced sales of organic milk products, this is not reflected in cheese or fresh organic meat, where sales have grown steadily," Kottila says.

Bananas still #1

Pro Luomu says that organic has a market share of 2.4 percent in the grocery sector. Its figures do not include direct sales from farms or sales by the national alcohol monopoly, Alko.

Growth is still strong in sales of organic fruit and vegetables and baby food, as well as in beer and cider sold at a grocery stores, where the maximum alcohol content rose in January from 4.7 percent to 5.5 percent.

The best-selling organic product groups remain fruit, root vegetables, coffee and eggs. The single best-selling items are bananas, while those with the highest market share are still vegetable oils, baby food and eggs.

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