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Organic food has few takers in India
Our Bureau
Date of posting: 29-01-08
      Organic food might be hot in Europe and the US, but in India consumers find little value in organic foods. For the record organic foods are those food products produced with natural fertilizers and shun chemical based crop enhancement and protection inputs.

      According to a study the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM), while 20% of Indian farmers grew organic foods, less than 1/30 of consumers in cities specifically asked for organic foods in supermarkets or even neighbourhood stores. The study titled, "use of organic products vs. non-organic products", that covered 1000 retail points selling organic foods, found that while almost all of them stocked some forms or organic foods, less than 3% of their earnings came from the sale of such foods.

      Interestingly, while organic foods command a premium in Europe, In India their were often sold at a discount as they did not have the "look" and vibrant colours that cereals and vegetables made from heavy doze of chemical-based crop enhancement techniques had.

      Besides, organic foods were more expensive which made the average consumer shun them. The study found that the price difference could be between 20%-40% owing to higher input costs as organic farming required a higher land area than chemical farming to produce the same amount of grain or vegetables.

      A third hindrance was poor marketing strategies as organically produced food was not displayed separately at shops. Their perceived health benefits were not communicated to consumers.

      Also, at the farming level, organic foods were mainly produced in non-irrigated zones.

       The study found that the most common forms of organic foods were vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, milk and cereals.

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