Facts & figures about Danish organics

Facts & figures about Danish organics

February 2022 by: Louise Kaad-Hansen

The Danish consumers are the most pro-organic consumers in the world. In fact, Denmark has the world's highest organic share and the most well-developed organic market.

Organic sales in Denmark continue to set a record. In 2020 the organic food sale increased with 14 %. Moreover, today three out of four Danes buy organic food every single week indicating that organic is for everyone. The unique and governmentally certified Ø-label has been very important for the widespread success that organic food products have achieved in Denmark.

Development in the Danish organic market share 2006 till 2020

In 2020, 12.8% of Danes’ food purchases were organic products, which is the highest organic market share compared with any other country in the world.

Source: Statistics Denmark 2021. Please pay attention to that Statistics Denmark has changed their basis of calculation from 2017 and onwards. Furthermore, online commerce has also been included in the figures from 2017 and onwards. 

Denmark: World leading organic nation

The demand for organic foods is higher than ever and organic food sales continued to grow globally in 2020, reaching EUR 120 billion. Once again Denmark is leading the way as Denmark is the country in the world where the sales of organic products make up for the largest part of the overall sales. 

In 2020, 12.8 percent of the Danes' grocery shopping was organic which is also the largest share compared to any other country in the world. Austria comes in second followed by Switzerland on a third place. 

Source: FiBL 2022

The organic sale in Denmark

The 10 most popular, organic products of Danish consumers anno 2020 are:

  1. Bananas (66.5%)
  2. Plantbased dairy (64.9%)
  3. Carrots (47.6%)
  4. Oatmeal (47.2%)
  5. Natural Yoghurt (47.0%)
  6. Root crop (45.4%)
  7. Cabbage (36.2%)
  8. Milk (34.3%)
  9. Flour (33.7%)
  10. Eggs (31.2%)

Source: GfK ConsumerScan

The table below shows the value shares of the total, organic turnover per category in 2020.

Sales of organic products by product groups

Fruit and vegetables make up more than one third of the organic sales in the retail sector and thereby constitutues the largest organic product category. This is followed by dairy, that makes up one fifth of the organic sales. In general, most product categories have achieved a high organic market share.  

Source: Statistics Denmark 2021

Sales channels of Danish, organic food

Sales of organics is growing at record speed. In 2020, total organic sales in Denmark amounted to as much as DKK 18.3 billion DKK.

The Danish retail sector including the booming online sale make up for the largest part of the total organic sales comprising 16 billion DKK. Contrary, 2020 has been a tough year for the Danish foodservice sector, as covid-19 has put an end to the otherwise significant organic growth since 2010. Based on the prolonged closures of large parts of the foodservice industry during the lockdown, Organic Denmark therefore estimates a drastic decrease in the turnover of organic products in foodservice in 2020.

Source: GfK ConsumerScan 2021, Statistics Denmark 2021 as well as Organic Denmark's estimate for the foodservice sector in 2020

The Export of Danish organic food by country

Danish organics are not only for Danes. In 2020, the exports of Danish organic products amounted to DKK 2.8 billion. Our biggest export markets are in our neighbouring countries where Germany is the largest export market for Danish organic companies representing 44% of total exports. This is followed by Sweden (13%), The Netherlands (8%), China (7%) and China (6%), .

Source: Statistics Denmark 2021

Organic exports by categories 

Organic dairy including eggs constitue by far the largets export category with a total export rate of 39%. 

The figure below indicates the export of Danish organic products per category in 2019.

Source: Statistics Denmark 2020
Misc.* Vegetable and animal Oils, fodder, etc.

The Development of Danish Organic Export 

Exports of organic Danish foods – and all other Danish goods – were heavily affected by the corona pandemic in 2020. Exports of organic Danish foods decreased by 8 per cent from DKK 3.0 billion in 2019 to DKK 2.8 billion in 2020. 2020 was marked by declining sales to Asia and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on exports, in part due to transport problems, economic recession in parts of Asia and general challenges for the international trade. On the other hand, exports to Germany increased.

Danish companies have a solid starting point due to a high standard of food safety and food quality, Denmark’s unique control system from farm to table as well as the Danish companies’ ability to innovate which will all support the growth in the export of Danish organics in the future. 

The figure below illustrates the development of Danish organic export.

Source: Statistics Denmark 2021

Want to know more?

In Organic Denmark's organic market report 2021, you can get a comprehensive overview of the market situation for all sales channels in 2020. Here you can be updated on the market development for organic foods in the Danish retail trade and foodservice sector.

The report is available for download here.