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Issues and Research Needs of the Australian Organic Food Products Market


  • Zepeda, Lydia
  • Griffith, Garry R.
  • Chang, Hui-Shung (Christie)


Worldwide, the demand for organic food products has expanded rapidly in the past decade, stimulated by consumer perceptions that organic products are safer, cleaner and more ethical than conventional products. The demand for organic products is estimated to be growing at a rate of 15-20 per cent per annum, with sales reaching $US23 billion in 2002. The biggest growth in consumption has occurred in developed countries such as the United States and Europe, which are major importers of organic foods. Australia, as a major exporter of agricultural products, stands to benefit from this expansion in demand. However, little is known about the organic industry by other agribusinesses and little research on organics has been conducted in Australia, especially compared to the United States and Europe. The objective of this paper is to provide a contemporary overview of the Australian organic food products industry, including production, marketing and certification of organic foods. Major supply issues such as the small production base and the low rate of conversion to organic farming and major demand issues such as availability, prices and product integrity are discussed. Areas identified for further research include data collection and reporting of production, consumption and trade of organic products, consumer and producer attitudes towards, and expectations of, organic farming, product integrity and labelling regulation, competition from other sustainable farming systems, and future industry structure of the organic sector. Outputs from the research will provide market information to the organic industry that helps identify marketing opportunities and develop strategies for meeting market requirements and sustaining industry growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Zepeda, Lydia & Griffith, Garry R. & Chang, Hui-Shung (Christie), 2004. "Issues and Research Needs of the Australian Organic Food Products Market," Working Papers 12924, University of New England, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uneewp:12924

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marshall, Graham R., 1993. "Organic farming in Australia: An economist's perspective," Conference Papers 9676, University of New England, Institute for Rural Futures.
    2. Klonsky, Karen & Tourte, Laura & Thompson, Gary D. & Lohr, Luanne & Krissoff, Barry, 1998. "Emergence Of U.S. Organic Agriculture: Can We Compete?," Faculty Series 16704, University of Georgia, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    3. Wynen, Els, 2002. "The economics of organic cereal-livestock farming in Australia revisited," 2002 Conference (46th), February 13-15, 2002, Canberra 125615, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    4. Govindasamy, Ramu & Italia, John, 1999. "Predicting Willingness-To-Pay A Premium For Organically Grown Fresh Produce," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 30(2), July.
    5. Luanne Lohr, 1998. "Implications of Organic Certification for Market Structure and Trade," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1125-1129.
    6. Wang, Qingbin & Sun, Junjie, 2003. "Consumer Preference And Demand For Organic Food: Evidence From A Vermont Survey," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22080, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. Marshall, Graham R., 1991. "Organic Farming: Should Government Give it More Technical Support?," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 59(03), December.
    8. Gary D. Thompson, 1998. "Consumer Demand for Organic Foods: What We Know and What We Need to Know," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1113-1118.
    9. Byrne, Patrick J. & Toensmeyer, Ulrich C. & German, Carl L. & Muller, H. Reed, 1991. "Analysis Of Consumer Attitudes Toward Organic Produce Purchase Likelihood," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 22(2), June.
    10. Greene, Catherine R. & Kremen, Amy, 2003. "U.S. Organic Farming In 2000-2001: Adoption Of Certified Systems," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33769, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    11. Karen Klonsky & Laura Tourte, 1998. "Organic Agricultural Production in the United States: Debates and Directions," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1119-1124.
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