Business opportunities to seize in the niche of natural and organic products

In recent years, the category of natural, organic and specialty food products has experienced rapid growth. It is that in addition to being more aware of the impact that food has on the body, consumers are more and more concerned with what they ingest. Whether they are products of natural origin or certified organic, these foods meet growing needs which are very diverse and highly adapted to individuals and their rhythm of life, all over the world. | By Geneviève Morin, Export Advisor

The explosion of organic
For the organic category only, there is a market of $ 4.4 billion in Canada according to the Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA). In addition, the American figures amount to nearly 50 billion US dollars, according to analyzes of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), with a growth rate generally six times higher than that of the whole agrifood market. . Until now, market garden products have been the cornerstone of this market segment. However, there has been strong marked growth in sales in several new categories, including condiments and meat, poultry and fish.


• $ 4.4 billion: the organic food market in Canada
• US $ 50 billion: the organic food market in the United States
• More than a third of organic food sales are made in traditional grocery stores


Also according to COTA, 66% of all Canadians buy organic products every week. Among millennials, the largest consumer segment in America, this proportion jumped to 83%. This same phenomenon is also present in our neighbors to the south. In fact, the propensity to consume organic food is all the more strong among millennials with children. Anxious to offer the best to their families, they would develop much more regular consumption habits of organic food when they become parents. Currently, only 25% of 18-35 year olds have children. However, within the next 10 to 15 years, 80% of millennial children will be parents themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, traditional and mass retailers have a very important role to play in the sale of organic bio-food products. In the United States, more than a third of organic product purchases are made from traditional grocery stores. However, 55.5% of sales of organic products are made through large mass retailers, compared to 35.3% of sales by retailers of natural and specialty products.

It’s also noted that the web is one of the fastest growing food sales channels right now. Following the general trend, organic food products are no exception. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, the percentage of American families shopping online for organic food doubled from 7 to 14%. Again, millennials are the main buyers of organic food online (40%). The segment of organic agrifood products therefore has high potential, especially since these consumption habits will be passed on to the next generation.

Trends to watch
In the category of natural, organic and specialty food products, innovations are numerous and consumers are more and more demanding. You have to be on the lookout for future trends and know how to seize opportunities.

Plant-based food: better for humans and the planet
Present for some time now, this movement is gaining strength and is not about to run out of steam. Consumers everywhere are now looking for the benefits of a plant-based diet. They are especially fond of simple and tasty solutions that will allow them to take advantage of these benefits without, however, having to fully adhere to more stringent diets such as veganism or vegetarianism, for example. This type of food also reduces its environmental impact, which motivates consumers more and more in their purchasing decisions.

Down with allergens!
Food allergens are the cause of many annoyances and more and more consumers are looking for products that contain little or no. The door is therefore open to innovative products allowing consumers to maintain their eating habits while reducing the effects linked to allergens.

Whether it's grain-free granola, pistachio-based milk or vegan cream cheese with salmon flavor, the possibilities are endless, you just need to know how to take advantage of trends and position yourself well on these growth markets.

Functional desserts: why deprive yourself of them?
Ice creams and protein cookies, chocolate and energizing smoothies, frozen treats with antioxidant properties, functional desserts are on the rise. This category of products allows consumers to maintain their eating habits and not to have a feeling of deprivation while respecting their dietary objectives. Again, there is room for inventiveness. Depending on the needs of different consumers, there are still several opportunities to be seized.

Eat while sparing the planet
This trend is felt in many aspects of our lives, but it is especially when it comes to eating. Whether it's vegan, vegetarian, biodegradable packaging, or even grass-fed animal products, the possibilities are many and varied. That said, a sizeable portion of consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental footprint of their food and are therefore looking for a way to eat while reducing their impact on the planet.

Foods suitable for different diets (keto, paleo, foods with low FODMAP content, Whole30, etc.)
Today there are several eating habits or diets, such as ketogenic, paleo, poor in FODMAP, etc., which require that we eat in a very precise way, completely or almost eliminating certain categories of 'food. Simple, quick and tasty solutions to support these types of diets are therefore in great demand from consumers. Whether it is to support weight loss, to control a chronic disease or simply to boost one's energy level, these diets are already well known and they continue to grow in popularity.

Quick, but smart snacks
Free time is becoming a rare commodity with the pace of life of consumers which is constantly buzzing. But these are not ready to sacrifice a healthy diet for all that. In fact, consumers are always looking for snacks that are easy to carry, delicious and healthy. Sometimes it's just a matter of rethinking the packaging to transform an already known and appreciated food into a practical and enticing snack. The added value of a product is not always necessarily in its composition!

A little transparency, please!
Consumers are now more interested in what they eat and where the food they buy comes from. They want simple, easy-to-read, detailed ingredient lists with ingredients they know and can name. In fact, there is a great demand for practical, simple and delicious products with good nutritional quality and little or no additives or preservatives. There are many expectations for companies. Consumers believe they should communicate clearly and transparently about their ingredients, the type of packaging used and the nutrition claims of their products. Increasingly, businesses are targeting discerning and demanding consumers, it is important not to forget this and, why not, to try to take advantage of it.

Back to news list