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Organic Processed Food in Europe

Borghoff, Lisa; Strassner, Carola and Richter, Toralf (2021) Organic Processed Food in Europe. ProOrg-Report. FH Münster, University of Applied Sciences, Food - Nutrition - Facilities, D-Münster .

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Summary

Executive Summary
While the organic food market is one of the fastest growing food sectors in the world with consist-ently increasing rates of growth in all advanced economies over the past ten years, a major and growing part of the organic food sold and consumed is transformed from harvested commodities by food processing into processed food products.
Differentiating between foods that are processed over and above food group categories remains a challenging issue. There are many classification systems for processed foods in academic literature and a few others applied in professional practice. Most of those designed with consumer nutrition guidance as one aim take nutrients or substances in general as their main criteria. Only the NOVA classification system takes processing techniques themselves into account. Furthermore, only the Wholefood Nutrition classification system (Vollwert Ernährung in Germany) takes environmental and additional impacts into consideration. Organic production itself is addressed by these two systems only: the former specifically excludes it while the latter specifically recommends food products from organic production. Thereby neither takes organic food processing itself into detailed account. Hence, neither these two nor any other of the described classification systems is appropriate for a deeper exploration of organic processed foods and a differentiation within these or between non-organic and organic processed foods.
It could be shown that organic foods in the market cover all categories within studied processed foods classifications, including very highly processed foods categories. Given the growing attention paid to processing of foods and their connection with human health, as well as the dietary recommendation made by several private and national nutrition bodies to avoid very highly processed foods, the or-ganic sector does need to address this issue. One avenue could be to build on existing classification systems and adapt these to include organic specifications or else to develop a new classification, drawing on organic principles and the organic perspective as a guiding framework.
The legislation for organic processing of foods provides a general framework with guiding principles and permitted substances for processing; some few technologies are specifically mentioned and for-bidden. The private standards of some organic associations provide more detailed guidance, though again, this is mostly limited to restriction of permitted substances and applications.
The organic sector finds itself in a dynamic growth phase in the European Union and elsewhere. This is not only limited to organic farming production but also includes organic food production. The market analysis could not distinguish between processed foods effectively or at all, but overall it underlines the growth in processed organic foods entering the market year on year. Trends in the data studied suggest an increase in very highly processed organic foods. This development needs to be referred to the overall guiding principles for organic food and farming and addressed by the sector. Commu-nication of processing-related aspects of organic products as studied in producer websites, company video material and product packaging show little differentiation to that of non-organic products. Both would seem to use vague terms and avoid professional processing visuals. Herein may lie a chance for better promotion of organic foods if unique organic processing attributes can be distinguished.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:PROORG, processing classification, product communication, market, organic, food, ProOrg, Abacus, FiBL35159
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
organic food products -> organic foods
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_29261
English
processing of foods -> food processing
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_37969
English
UNSPECIFIED
UNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Food systems > Markets and trade
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > ProOrg
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Food quality > Food processing
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Economics & market > Market development
Germany > Other organizations
Deposited By: Strassner, Dr. Carola
ID Code:43434
Deposited On:26 Jan 2022 07:33
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 14:57
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:This is a ProOrg Report.
Code of Practice for Organic Food Processing (ProOrg)
Financial support for this project was provided by the transnational funding bodies, being partners of the H2020 ERA-NET project, CORE Organic Cofund & the Cofund from the European Commission, in the scope of the 2017 Core Organic Cofund call.
CORE Organic is the acronym for "Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems". As an ERA-NET action, it intends to increase cooperation between national research activities. CORE Organic Cofund is the continuation of the ERA-Nets CORE Organic I, II and Plus. The CORE Organic Cofund consortium consists of 25 partners from 19 countries.

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