By: Allison Finnamore
Published: FCC Express, April 19, 2013

The Canada Organic Trade Association says Canada’s organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion.

The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, the association says, calling it diverse and consumer-based, with 58 per cent of all Canadians buying organic products every week.

“At the industry’s urging, the government implemented strict national standards and label requirements in 2009 to uphold consumer confidence in organic claims,” says Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association.

“It’s tremendously gratifying to see this result in such strong market growth and continued consumer commitment to organic.”

In British Columbia, the focus of the first phase of research, two-thirds of consumers — and over three-quarters of Vancouverites — are buying organic groceries weekly. B.C. generated 23 per cent of the value of the national organic food and beverage market, with strong sales across distribution channels.

“We are pleased to see growing consumer demand and impressive sales growth from mainstream retail to direct-to-consumer channels,” says Rebecca Kneen, co-president of the Certified Organic Associations of B.C.

Funding for this research has been provided through Loblaw Companies, Taste of Nature, UNFI Canada, Whole Foods Market and the Organic Sector Development Program. Funding for the OSDP comes from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, which is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation in British Columbia.

The Canada Organic Trade Association is the membership-based trade association for the organic sector in Canada, representing growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others in the organic value chain.

The full B.C. report and national highlights are available at

Meanwhile, Canada and Costa Rica have just inked a new organic trade agreement.

A news release from the federal government states that the Canada-Costa Rica Organic Equivalency Arrangement is the outcome of an extensive analysis of both countries’ production and certification systems. The arrangement will allow for easier import and export of certified organic products between Canada and Costa Rica without the need for additional certification, thus reducing costs and red tape for industry.

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