Australia's organics-sector boom: the stats

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly e-newsletter to receive more stories like this. Australia's Macro Wholefoods store: Organics is a booming sector globally, and domestically, and is set for further growth, driven by cashed-up consumers across Asia and health-conscious Millennials.

According to the latest Australian Organic Market Report (AOMR 2017) from Australia's peak organics-industry body, Australian Organic Ltd. (AO), the organic food, beverages and supplements sector continues to grow worldwide.

And this strong, global trend is set to continue, driven by increasingly cashed-up, westernised middle classes in ‘tiger’ Asian economies including Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, China and Singapore; and by health-conscious Millennials across the globe.

Australia's organic operator numbers up 5% in a year

Between 2015 and 2016, AOMR 2017 states, the number of certifled-organic operations in Australia grew by a healthy five percent. Nationally, in 2016, there were an estimated:

  • 2,075 certified-organic producers;
  • 1,163 certified processors; and
  • 513 certified handlers.
In FY 2015-2016, Australia’s domestic market for organic products was estimated to be AU$1.4 billion, states the report, while the total value of the organic market nationwide was an estimated AU$1.72 billion.

Top 5 export markets for Australia's organic produce

Australia experienced strong growth in organic exports to all continents over the same period, with around one third of our exports by tonnage destined for East Asia and another third to North America.

According to AOMR 2017, he top five export destinations for Australian organic products in FY 2015-16, in order of ranking, were:

  • the United States of America; 
  • the Republic of Korea; 
  • the People's Republic of China;
  • Hong Kong; and
  • Singapore.

Collectively, these five markets, four of them in Asia, accounted for about two-thirds of total organic tonnage exported from Australia in FY 2015-2016, with exports of organic products to Hong Kong showing the biggest year-on-year increase.

Arcadian Organic's all-natural, certified-organic Aussie beef.
Arcadian Organic's all-natural, certified-organic Aussie beef, destined for premium markets around the world.
Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co

Australian organic exports boom

Organic product tonnage exported from Australia grew by an impressive 17 percent in FY 2015-2016. Beef was the nation's top export by tonnage, at nearly 20 percent of all organic exports over the period. Horticultural produce, dairy products and wine were other key exports by tonnage.

Australian exports of organic bakery items increased almost fourfold between 2015 and 2016, while those of several other organic food and beverage products showed “exceptional growth”, stated AOMR 2017; these included: 

  • lamb and other sheepmeat;
  • alcoholic drinks;
  • dairy products; and
  • chicken.

And the sector is set for continued growth, with global demand for organic produce likely to increase, especially across Asia.

About the AOMR

The Australian Organic Market Report is a highly reputable annual publication commissioned by member-owned not-for-profit industry group Australian Organic Ltd. It tracks trends in the Australian organic marketplace.

The 2017 report incorporates independent research conducted by project teams at University of New England (UNE), Mobium Group, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and other sources. 

Further information

To download the full report, click here. For more information about Australia's organics sector, organic certification and associated news and events, visit the Australian Organic Ltd. website.

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