The Danes have really embarked on a greener way of life. The Danes’ greener plates are primarily abounding with organic fruit and vegetables. According to Statistics Denmark sales of organic fruit and vegetables increased by 143% in the period 2015-2019.
Summer is a natural period for serving fresh Danish fruit and vegetables on the table. Consumers are tempted by the abundance of green products in the supermarkets’ fruit and vegetables department, at farm outlets and roadside stalls. But the Danes do not only eat more fruit and vegetables when the sun is shining. We have generally become aware that cutting down on our meat consumption makes sense from both a health and climate perspective, which may explain why especially organic fruit and vegetables account for the biggest increase.
Figures from Statistics Denmark show that sales of organic fruit and vegetables have more than doubled in four years.
“When we ask consumers why they choose to buy organic products, the primary reason given is that it’s about eating food products that you can be sure don’t contain residues of pesticides,” explains Michael Langberg, Market Director in Organic Denmark and adds:
“It can be difficult to see how to achieve the greatest effect if you want to reduce your intake of pesticide residues. But it’s actually pretty straight forward. By replacing just five basic products with the organic version, you can more than halve your intake of pesticide residues. This is already a big step in the right direction.”
Consumers also state that they look for food products which protect nature and groundwater. Sustainability, with particular focus on climate, is also an increasingly important factor in our choice of products from the shelves.
“This means that consumers are focusing more than before on buying Danish products and on buying vegetables that are in season,” he says.
Right now, for example, there is great demand for organic strawberries, lettuce, potatoes and cucumbers. And looking more generally at the consumption pattern of this four-year period, organic produce such as potatoes, berries, lettuce and cabbage has tripled in four years. Organic fruit has a market share of 22.7%, while organic vegetables have a market share of 24.7%, according to GFK Consumer Scan. Organic carrots currently account for nearly half of the total sales, with a market share of 45.2%.
“Danish consumers are generally frontrunners in a global trend towards choosing food products that are clean and produced with thoughtfulness – both in terms of boosting your own health and contributing to greater sustainability,” says Michael Langberg.
Five products that make a difference
A study from DTU Food shows that you can reduce your intake of pesticides by nearly 50% simply by buying five organic products. Here you have good, green and organic choices.
- Apples – in 2018, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found pesticide residues in 31% of Danish non-organic apples and in 79% of foreign non-organic apples. No pesticide residues were found in organic apples.
- Lettuce – in 2018, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found pesticide residues in 27% of Danish non-organic lettuce and in 67% of foreign non-organic lettuce. No pesticide residues were found in organic lettuce.
- Tomatoes – in connection with the latest control, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found pesticide residues in 9% of Danish non-organic tomatoes and in 50% of foreign non-organic tomatoes. No pesticide residues were found in organic tomatoes.
- Potatoes – the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration’s control showed that 14% of Danish non-organic potatoes and 56% of foreign non-organic potatoes contained pesticide residues. No pesticide residues were found in organic potatoes.
- Strawberries – Danish organic strawberries are completely free of pesticides. In 2018, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration found pesticide residues in 72% of Danish non-organic strawberries and in 83% of foreign non-organic strawberries.
Source: Statistics Denmark, GFK Consumer Scan, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration/ DTU and consumer survey conducted by Organic Denmark as well as www.ø30.dk