The emerging organic food industry in post-pandemic India

The organic food industry in India has just started to take small steps into what appears to be a bright future for the industry which has boomed after the pandemic. India ranks first in Asia (fifth in the world) with 23 lakh hectares in organic farming, according to FiBL (The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture) & IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) Organics International Report 2021 .

A FiBL survey in 2021 also indicates that India has experienced the highest growth in the world (in absolute terms) adding around 3.6 lakh hectares of organic land. He further believes that the organic industry will grow faster in India, thanks to the renewed demand for organic products after the pandemic.

While the pandemic has disrupted supply chains around the world and afflicted farmers around the world, it has also pushed people to shift towards organic choices. “People have become more aware of what they eat after the pandemic. Realizing that they can control and improve what they eat enables them to make more organic choices, ”said Gaurav Manchanda, founder of The Organic World, an organic retail store based in Bengaluru.

The Indian organic food market has also seen a sharp increase with a market size reaching $ 820 million in 2020, up from around $ 200 million in 2018, according to the report, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24% over the course of 2021-2026.

“We expect a 75% increase in revenue for this fiscal year, driven by the growth in the number of stores from 10 to 20 and a strong online presence,” said Manchanda.

With the shift of consumers to digital grocery shopping, omnichannel organic stores have experienced tremendous growth. While The Organic World’s pre-covid income split was 5% online and 95% in-store. During the Covid peak, the breakdown increased to 20% online and 80% in-store.

Growing concerns about the presence of chemicals in conventionally grown foods have made the average Indian consumer wary of what they eat. This has prompted players in the organic market to come up with unique ways to ensure that they meet the expectations of their customers.

For example, The Organic World personally audits and assigns a “certified organic farm” label to the farms from which they source their products. In addition, they also own farms from which a considerable part of their agricultural products comes.

Each of their 2,000 products, before ending up on the shelves of the store, must pass a unique “step in our aisle list”. “This ensures that none of the products we sell contain harmful chemicals – like artificial flavors (MSG) – which we have listed on the ‘not in our aisles’ list,” he added.

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