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Sustainable foods growing in popularity in the Netherlands

Sustainable foods are becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands, according to new research by LEI - Wageningen UR. Consumers choose sustainable foods more often, and a broader selection of products are available to them.

Turnover for the organic food sector increased by 30 percent compared to the previous year for the second time in a row. In 2011 consumers spent 1,75 billion euros on sustainable foods, which amounts to a 4,5 percent share of the total market. This increase was mostly due to an increase in the availability of organic meat. At this point sustainable food is the most important growth market in retail and food service in the Netherlands.

Foods are classified as sustainable if they are produced in a more animal-friendly, biological, environmentally friendly, or ethical manner than is legally required. Only foods marked with an independently controlled label, such as EKO or FAIRTRADE, were taken into consideration in the study.

Among factors taking into consideration by consumers when choosing sustainable foods, topping the list were health, price, flavour, safety, and ease of purchase, but honest production and animal- and environmental-friendliness followed shortly thereafter. It would appear that the Dutch are willing to purchase sustainable foods so long as the experience does not differ too much from what they are used to.

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Carly Blair

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