Tasmania’s organic producers are ideally placed to make the most of Australia’s growing hunger for organics, a new report suggests.
The Australian Organic Market Report 2017 shows Australia’s demand for organics far outstrips supply in the $1.72 billion organics market, with dairy the most purchased food.
Chairman of Australian Organic Ltd Andrew Monk said Tasmania’s strongest organic opportunities were in specialised horticulture, dairy and grains.
“[Tasmania’s organic market] has proven it can punch way above its weight … there’s a passion and a zeal, and an ability to market above and beyond,” Dr Monk said.
“The challenge will be for the island to work out how we can remain focused on niche markets.”
He cited apple orchard Willie Smith’s, in the Huon Valley, as a company with a highly successful national marketing strategy.
Dr Monk said despite a rocky road on the stock market, Launceston-based Bellamy’s remained significant to the dairy market.
At The Organic Grocery Store in Launceston, co-owners Sue Beaton and Claire Nicolson said most customers began by purchasing organic fruit and vegetables before expanding to other food products, cleaning products, clothing and even cosmetics.
“I think people are realising because there’s been so much research done on the effects of chemicals in your food, your lifestyle … people are taking notice of that,” Ms Nicolson said, adding many customers were choosing organic for health reasons.
76 per cent of shoppers surveyed for the report said the cost of organics was a major hurdle, but 51 per cent said ensuring a fair price for farmers was important.
Dr Monk said there was always some tension in the market as farmers sought confidence in prices while major supermarket chains and consumers counted their coins.
“There’s a bit of a stand-off between how much are people willing to pay, but clearly there’s a growing number of consumers that ... understand the value of what they perceive organics to be, and I think that’s what’s changing the landscape,” he said.