Retaining the rich organic heritage in the 21st century
Considering this generation will grow up to be parents over the next few years, the organic market can definitely expect a super surge in new ‘organic’ eaters and consumers, which, in turn, is a much needed nudge for organic farming.
As we take a closer look into the consumer food market today, we can identify a clearly booming trend of organic living among Millennials. The young consumers of the 21st century are strict advocates of a healthier lifestyle and cleaner living and are constantly on a lookout for new experiences while improving their eating habits. Being a part of an engaged and influential consumer group as they are, the enthusiastic millennial consumer behavior is majorly driven by the increasing media coverage on food trends, be it in traditional or social media, which is encouraging people to follow a certain lifestyle. Considering this generation will grow up to be parents over the next few years, the organic market can definitely expect a super surge in new ‘organic’ eaters and consumers, which, in turn, is a much-needed nudge for organic farming.
The Rich Organic Heritage and its Journey through Time
That said, in the Indian context, the concept of organic living is not at all new, nor is organic farming. The tradition of organic farming in the country is almost as old as time itself. Back in the times of our grandparents, nobody had to depend on chemical-infused crops or artificially reared livestock. Eating natural was the standard norm. Foods required for consumption were cultivated through organic and sustainable procedures that are based on unique values, and principles like health, ecology, environment, and care. The country, with its diverse climate, has long been known for following different types of organic farming, with a holistic farm management approach that aims to create a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable food production system. The core philosophy behind this method is based on managing the agro-ecosystem rather than relying on external farming inputs, such as pesticides, artificial fertilizers, additives, and genetically modified organisms. In addition to being beneficial for human health, this very method of farming is labor-intensive, which leads to employment generation in the rural areas, as well as, long-term improvement in the quality of the resources.
However, despite being one of the oldest methods of agriculture in India, organic farming somehow lost its essence due to the emergence of the Green Revolution during the time of crisis. While given the circumstances, the Green Revolution was indeed necessary at that time, but to secure our present and the future, an Organic Revolution is the need of the hour. A lot depends on the health of the soil where we grow our food, and over the decades, the heavy chemical usage in conventional farming has been responsible for the receding quality of our lands, as well as, our health.
To counter every effect of the long-term use of conventional farming procedures, scientists, farmers, as well as the Government are coming together to promote organic farming as the only viable option to save the environment, and human lives from getting endangered in the future. Especially, during the pandemic, organic farming has recorded huge spike in demand with people shifting their focus to organic food to ensure better immunity.
What makes Organic Products a Better Choice?
Now, to address the primary subject here, when we say ‘organic’, we refer to something which is not “artificial” or “synthetic”, a natural origin or produced matter which doesn’t affect any form of life in the ecosystem. And coming to organic food; they have organically grown food without the use of chemical-based fertilizer, pesticides and also not genetically modified and irradiated. To consider any food as organic whether plant or animal-based, it has to be fed and grown with organic matter along with a condition of welfare to the ecosystem. Food grown in kitchen gardens can be considered organic to some extent with the use of natural fertilizer and pesticides.
Farmers grow organic food with certified organic products, using renewable resources, and with a view to conserving soils and water in order to improve environmental quality for future generations under strict government authorised practice and regulation. Also, the companies, to be certified under government guidelines, are following the rules and regulations to process and market the organically cultivated food products by farmers.
The New Growth Trajectory of the Organic food market in India, and its Driver
The Indian organic food market is experiencing robust growth with the rising awareness about the products. From a value of USD 849.5 million in 2020, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 20.5 per cent in the period of 2021-2026, reaching a value of about USD 2601 million by the end of this period. Although the market is distributed across food and drink sectors, health and wellness, cosmetics and personal care, and textile industries, the highest growth is observed in the organic food segment, followed by textile, beauty, and personal care.
Being a niche market in the country, the organic food market is expected to see a wider penetration in the coming years. The growing level of health consciousness in the country is a key factor driving the demand for organic food. These naturally grown fruits, vegetables, eggs, or meat helps build our immune system. These benefits have increased the demand for such foods in the market. Additionally, with the increase in awareness among the consumers about food safety and environmental issues there is an increasing concern about their health and environment health. There are more and more people now with the view- “we are what we eat”, who believe our health, both physically and mentally is based on what we consume on a daily basis. This is one of the major attributors behind the growth of the market. Organic food has become a major alternative for consumers to overcome the negative consequences of conventional farming methods. Moreover, improved distribution channel and rise in the income level among the population is predicted to be another major driving factor for the global organic food market during the forecast period.
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