Organic market in Poland: price oriented but promising
Polish market for organic products is rather small but well developed. The major obstacle to increase sales in this segments is pricing. There are also some product categories that are missed in Poland. Those were the main findings of the webinar focused on organic market in Poland.
On the other hand Poland is a significant supplier of organic soft fruit for the EU. Already now it is a leading supplier for the EU market. The reason behind this success are the need for hand harvest and the labor costs in Poland are still lower compared to the other EU countries. Also natural conditions in Poland with mild dry climate and sour and sandy soils make Poland an important producer of soft fruit. Other important products that can be sourced in Poland are buckwheat and cereals. Also Polish apple concentrate that has a acids and therefore a better taste is often searched by the foreign buyers. Very often frozen organic material is going abroad, and comes back as branded. Bigger market for fruits is bigger, we are bigger producers in soft fruit production. The main destinations of Polish organic goods are Germany and the UK.
Even if the market in Poland is already well developed, there are still some products that are missed and searched by the Polish consumers (and producers). Almost all speakers mentioned ready, pre-prepared meals, that can be consumed fast, but still are healthy, further good quality organic meat is also an issue in Poland and fresh bread. For producers organic seed material and young plants is sometimes a challenge although there are seed companies on the Polish market (like Bejo Zaden), which have organic seeds in their offer. Other producers are lacking feed for animals and organic nitrogen fertilizers.
As mentioned before Poland has huge potential for organic products as the demand for those products is growing. The problem lies in prices and wealth of the Polish society, but the market is far from being saturated: almost 50% of Polish consumers never buys organic products and only 13% does it on the regular basis: at least once a week.
There are two major groups of consumers who are buying organic products in Poland:
Very oriented on certification as a guarantee of quality of those products. This group likes luxury products and is open to novelties but brands and labels remain important issue. They tend to have children and regular good income.
The second group is mainly over 50 and older, very often retired (therefore also economically stable but also on a relatively good level compared to the average income in Poland) and without children at home (anymore). For this group the short chain is of crucial value but in the sense of direct contact with the food supplier. This group likes to visit the farm and establish direct contact with the food producer.
Here you can read the whole rapport on organic farming in Poland.
As already mentioned, prices is the leading objective in purchase of organic products. According to diverse research, the acceptable price difference between conventional product and the same one produced in the organic way shouldn’t exceed more than 20%. The reality shows that prices differ per product category: the differences in the dairy sector are relatively low, just around the accepted range of 20%. But the price of the organic meat can be even 2-3 more expensive than a conventional product. It explains also the lacking demand and therefore also availability of organic meat on the Polish market. And considering the current economic situation of Poland with high inflation level and relatively low value of the Polish currency, the difference on prices for certain organic products are only rising.
You can watch the whole webinar on organic farming in Poland here.
For both groups reasons to buy organic products are similar to those in other countries:
- Safe food
- Free from pesticides residues
- GMO free
Generally speaking the perception of organic products in Poland is very good. The products are considered as healthy, safe, natural, of high quality and trustful. On the average the Polish consumer is spending 50eur monthly on organic.
The most known and often bought products are eggs. The reason behind this is the fact, that organic eggs are available in almost every store and simply easy accessible for their consumers. It shows also that convenience pays a very important role in the purchasing habits of the Polish consumer (still price is the leading factor).
For now there is not much processed food from Polish producers, as it is not easy to find enough quantity among Polish producers to put it on shelfs. Polish producers should develop, but now only few small companies are really present on the market. Couple of bigger players should switch into organic. They will immediately get the attention of the retailers as the demand for organic is rising.
On the other hand also processing of organic products has to be careful, as the consumers buying those products are aware about the food quality and don’t want to lose the additional quality of food produced in the organic way. But Polish consumers are global oriented and next to health issues also sensorial pleasure is an important factor for them. Therefore good quality products from abroad like Dutch cheese is always appreciated here.
Polish consumers need a proper information campaign that is (wider) promoting consumption of organic products. For now organic is well known and easy to reach in big Polish cities like the capital or Kraków or Gdańsk, but it is very difficult to get organic products in the Polish countryside. But on the moment the Polish government will make organic farming a priority for this land, Poland with its’ climate and agricultural structure has a very big chance to become a real organic supplier for the whole Europe. This can be also done with a campaign stimulating the demand.