OPN Connect Newsletter 104 · February 28, 2019

New Reports Suggest Opportunity in Exporting to the EU for US Organic Goods

By-Melody Meyer

New Reports Suggest Opportunity in Exporting to the EU for US Organic Goods

Export markets can be a crucial option for organic producers as domestic marketers explore additional outlet for supply that can provide greater profit margins than in US markets. Several new reports highlight the growth in organic worldwide markets along with opportunities and gaps in the export landscape. 

Global Organics Aug 2022

The global organic market continues to grow worldwide and has reached 97 billion US dollars

The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM recently released the latest global data on organic farming at BIOFACH, the world’s leading trade fair for organic food, in Nuremberg, Germany.

The data shows that worldwide nearly 70 million hectares (172 million acres) of farmland are organic, another all-time high.

Chelan Aug 2022

The market research company Ecovia Intelligence estimates that the global market for organic food reached 97 billion US dollars in 2017, with the United States responsible for nearly half of the market ($45 billion)

Among European country standouts in 2017:

  • The French organic market grew by 18 percent.
  • The Swiss spent the most on organic food ($US 327 per capita in 2017).
  • Denmark had the highest organic market share (13.3 percent of the total food market).


U.S. Organic Food Exporters Set to Double Sales to EU

Misionero Aug 2022

Another report published February 11th by the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) indicates a boom in the organic food market in the European Union (EU).  The report projects United States exports are set to double and hit record levels for 2018, noting in the first 10 months of last year the top U.S. organic products exported to the EU were apples, carrots and lettuce.

More information from US Export Data, indicates the top US organic exports items in 2017 were apples, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, spinach, carrots, tomato sauce, roasted coffee, cauliflower and pears.

The top 10 export markets for Unites States organic producers are Canada, Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Guatemala, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

Cal-Organic Aug 2022

One of the questions most asked is why the EU isn’t on the USDA list ----if it’s the second biggest worldwide organic market?

USDA tracks imports and exports for products with a special “harmonized” code. The codes were first issued for organic products in 2011.  There are currently a very limited number of organic-specific harmonized system (HS) codes to track organic exports. Hence, the HS codes in place cover only a small portion of the market.

While the number of organic codes for exports has not increased significantly since 2011, the number of organic import codes has doubled.

The GAIN report explains that the existing HS codes include mostly organic fresh products like milk, fruits, and vegetables, but not processed products or organic nuts. These items have high demand in the EU market. 


As noted, total tracked US organic exports to the EU reached record levels of $12 million in 2017 and are set to double in 2018. However, the actual total of US exports of organic products to the EU is likely much higher because of the lack of sufficient HS codes.

Stemilt Aug 2022
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