Canada: Grocery / Food

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Organic Food: Canadian Market Size

The market size for organic food in Canada is estimated to be CAD 880 million in 2017 with a CAGR of 6.0% by 2020. Generally, the Canadian organic market is valued at CAD 5.4 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 8.7%.

General Market size and growth

  • The Canadian organic market, which includes non-food organic products, was valued at CAD 5.4 billion in 2017.
  • The organic market in Canada in 2017 was estimated to have grown at an 8.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), up from CAD 3.5 billion in 2012.
  • In 2017, 1.8% of the total agricultural land in Canada was put under organic farming.
  • Demand for organic food has been rising since the 1900s as there has been a shift in health concerns.
  • The number of organic food farmers in Canada hit 4,800 in 2017, representing 1.27 million certified organic hectares. The province of Quebec ranked as the top organic milk producer, producing about 549,600 hectolitres in the 2017/2018 period.
  • It was reported that 76% of consumers in Canada purchased organic vegetables and fruits in 2017, which was the most purchased category of organic foods.

Value of organic foods

  • The value of organic foods is projected to rise to about CAD 1.24 billion in 2022, up from CAD 880 million in 2017.
  • The Canadian organic food service market is a significant part of the value and sales of organic foods, accounting for about CAD 571.65 million in 2017, which constituted of organic food sales, accounting for 74% and organic beverage sales accounting for 26%.
  • About 33% of organic food sales in the food service market were for the leisure and travel industry.
  • According to research projections, sweet biscuits and fruit snacks will have the highest growth among the organic packaged food categories, all through to 2022.
  • Coffee was projected as the fastest-growing segment in value in the category of organic beverage from 2017 to 2022.
  • The market for various organic food categories in Canada was predicted to grow at different percentage rates from 2016 to 2020. These include spreads at 9%, sweet biscuits, snack bars, and fruit snacks at 9%, confectionery at 7.3%, edible oils at 7%, soups at 6%, breakfast cereals at 6%, savory at 5%, sauces, dressing, and condiments at 5%, and ready meals at 4%.
  • The CAGR (2017-2020) of organic packaged food and beverages is 6.0%.
  • The organic foods and beverages market share was reported to have grown 1.7% in 2012 to 2.6% in 2017.

Research Strategy

We used publicly available sources, including Statista, to get information on the value of organic food, which included both foods and beverages. In some cases, the values had to be converted from US dollars to CAD, which we did using a currency converter.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Organic Food: Canadian Demographics

Organic is a major buzzword in the food and agricultural sectors. The public tends to understand this to mean products made without chemicals. Within the agricultural and food industries this term is much more specific and refers to farming, food handling and food packaging practices. The organic food industry is a growing one, with specific standards and practices, trade associations, and marketing organizations. In Canada, the main source of publicly available information about this complex and developing industry is the Canada Organic Trade Association. Its Organic Market Report includes a wealth of demographic information about both the organic producer and the organic consumer.

Canada Organic Trade Association 2017 Organic Market Report

Organic Foods Demographics

  • Age: 83% of Canadian organic consumers fall into the millennial age bracket. (this is people born between 1981-1996, ages 23-38, approximately)
  • Sex: 67% of Canadian organic consumers are male.
  • Income Level: Income level does not appear to be much of a factor in the purchase of organic foods. The idea that organic equals expensive is dispelled by the COTA report, which found that 64% of lower to average income shoppers buy organic, in comparison with 70% of higher income shoppers.
  • Education Level: 78% of Canadian organic consumers are university graduates.
  • Children: A COTA spokesperson is quoted saying that in general, parents of younger children buy more organic baby foods, and that this is often the gateway into buying other organic products. (There was no statistic given for this trend beyond this general statement.)

Research Strategy

The most current demographic and statistical Information about Canadian consumers of organic food is available from the Canada Organic Trade Association. This is a professional trade group composed of "growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and all points along the organic value chain." This organization's most recent demographic report is from 2017. The full report is not available for free, but highlights are.

Other requested demographic information was not available for the categories of race, employment or home ownership. This information could be included in the full COTA report, which is only available behind a paywall.
Repeated searches for the demographic information about Canadian organic consumers led to this COTA report. Government agencies, organic industry trade associations, and grocer industry trade associations all referred back to this 2017 report. General news articles about organic food consumers also referred back to the COTA report, and included quotes from COTA spokespersons discussing the report's demographic findings. Therefore, it is determined that the COTA report is the most accurate and current source of information about the Canadian organic food consumer.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "In Canada, 1.8 percent share of agricultural land was used for organic farming in 2017. In 2017, the value of the organic food market in Canada amounted to 5.4 billion Canadian dollars."
  • " Since then, demand for organically produced food has continued to rise. In 2017, the number of organic primary producers in Canada reached 4,800. The province of Quebec produces the highest volume of organic milk of any Canadian province, at 549.6 thousand hectoliters in 2017/18. "
  • "In a 2017 survey, it was found that 76 percent of Canadian consumers purchased organic fruit and vegetables. That year, organic fruits and vegetables were also the most regularly purchased categories of organic food products in Canada. "
  • "The Canadian sales value of organic packaged foods is forecasted to rise from 880 million Canadian dollars in 2017 to 1.24 billion Canadian dollars by 2022."
Quotes
  • "the forecasted sales growth rate of organic food products in Canada between 2016 and 2020, broken down by product type. Sales of organic edible oils are predicted to increase by 7 percent between 2016 and 2020."
Quotes
  • "there are more than 6,000 certified organic operations, almost 4,800 certified organic producers and 1.27 million certified organic hectares (including wild collections)."
  • "According to estimates, Canada's total organic market (including non-food organic products) has reached Can $ 5.4 billion, compared to Can $ 3.5 billion in 2012, with an 8.7 percent compound annual growth rate."
  • "the market share of organic foods and beverages, which are sold through traditional retailers, has increased from 1.7 percent to 2.6 percent."
Quotes
  • "Canadian consumers’ increasing health consciousness and focus on social and environmental responsibility are driving sales growth."
  • "Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks are projected to post the highest rate of value growth among organic packaged food categories through 2022, and coffee will be the fastest growing organic beverage category."
  • "Organic packaged food and beverages consumption-CAGR(17-20) at 6.0%"
Quotes
  • "Canada’s organic food service market was estimated at $555 million in 2017, with 74% ($409 M) of this volume coming from organic food sales and 26% ($146 M) from organic beverage sales. Nearly a third of all organic foods in food service are within the travel and leisure environments."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides"
Quotes
  • "Organic production is a system of farming that replenishes and maintains soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. It encourages practices that increase biodiversity and reduce negative environmental impacts, while also supporting animal health and welfare."
Quotes
  • "COG provides education, advocacy and leadership to help build an agricultural system that empowers farmers and consumers, enhances human health, builds community and mitigates climate change while increasing Canadian food sovereignty. "
Quotes
  • "The 2017 consumer report provides a series of statistical insights into organic consumer behaviour and preferences as well as trade and sales growth."
Quotes
  • "Turning 38 this year, the oldest Millennials are well into adulthood, and they first entered adulthood before today’s youngest adults were born."
Quotes
  • "The Canadian Organic Market Report: Trends and Opportunities 2017 is the second comprehensive Canadian organic market analysis released by the Canada Organic Trade Association. This in-depth publication provides the most up-to-date overview of the Canadian organic market."
Quotes
  • "“I think there’s a lot of synergies, of course, with the U.S. market, when you have metro areas with similar driving forces behind it,” said Chris Ford, organic category manager with Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group."
  • "“Baby food and other foods for infants and young children have strong market share,” Schwartz said. “Often, adults begin purchasing organic once they have children.”"
Quotes
  • "However, Loftsgard said the often-used criticism that organics are only affordable for the rich doesn’t appear to hold up. The latest survey shows that 70 per cent of households with income over $100,000 buys organic. For households with income of less than $40,000, that number drops — but only to 64 per cent."