Poland not green yet
The market for organic products in Poland is a very dynamic and innovative segment. Demand for organic products is continuously growing and we assess the value of this market in 2013 to have been on the level of about 200 billion USD. Organic food is also an opportunity for Polish agriculture.
However, in spite of the increase in sales, the Polish organic food market constitutes a small fraction of the total food market. This places us clearly behind highly developed markets like Denmark or Switzerland. Per capita spending on organic food in those countries exceeds even 30 times the spending of an average Pole.
According to the research carried out by the agency Inquiry, over the next few years we should not expect any radical breakthrough on the local market. The reason for this being that the majority of Polish consumers look for products at the lowest possible price, and even a 2- 3-fold difference in price becomes too high a barrier.
Inquiry Market Research has been conducting research of the food market in Poland and other Central and East European countries for over 10 years.
The price difference is easy to understand if we consider that the production of organic food is much more expensive than production of ordinary food. On top of this, efficient distribution channels have not yet been established, and this further increases the costs of reaching the consumers. Organic products will always be more expensive than ordinary food products, but the difference is too high for the Polish consumers at the moment. So, on the one hand, it is necessary to develop the distribution and to have a good display of organic products in „normal” stores, and on the other hand, a further education of consumers is necessary.
Distribution of organic products, which is very fragmented in Poland, poses an additional barrier to the development of this market. Specialised organic food stores (mostly independent) have the largest market share, but an increase has been noted also in the offer of super- and hypermarkets. Noticeable are also fairs and markets, where it is possible to buy products directly from the producer. In the more distant future, we expect that the market will become mostly dominated by specialist chains (such as Organic Farma Zdrowia) and by the large-format grocery stores.