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Organic pantry items on the rise

Organic retailers across the country are experiencing extraordinary growth as Australians continue to place growing importance on personal and environmental health, and stock their pantries with organic items.

Award winners at the recent Australian Organic 7th Annual Industry Awards each reported they are expanding their businesses to meet surging demand for the nation’s well-regarded organic products, from both local and overseas customers.

The prestigious Awards, coordinated by peak industry body Australian Organic Limited (AOL), recognise excellence in the nation’s rapidly growing $2 billion-plus organic industry.

AOL Chief Executive Officer, Niki Ford, said the dual health and wider environmental benefits of organic production, which is free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers, was driving the sector’s growing consumer base.

“Over the past year we’ve seen around nine million Australian households purchase organic products, while the average annual household spend on organic grew 12.8 per cent since 2019,” Ms Ford said.

What started out in 2002 as a humble market stall in Sydney providing high-quality and sustainably farmed wholefoods to the local community has evolved to both a flagship store in Alexandria, and an online store, for certified organic retailer Honest to Goodness.

Co-founder and owner of Honest to Goodness, Karen Ward, who took out the Retailer of the Year Award, said the business now serves thousands of customers each week at the store and online, delivering to places as far-flung as the Gulf of Carpentaria.

“Our customers are very loyal and are also committed to creating a healthier future. Through our retail store, they have access to a great offering of bulk and grocery products with the option of buying as little or as much as they like,” Ms Ward said.

“In addition, we offer more than 1,000 products online across food, beauty, cleaning and more, all rigorously and sustainably sourced as close to origin as possible.

“Given the growing awareness of the positive impacts organic production systems have on our environment and the personal consumer desire to minimise chemical taint in their foods and household products, we believe the future for organics looks rosy.

“As a country, we are blessed with large tracts of productive farming assets fit for organic production and we see export markets as a big opportunity to supply Australian Certified Organic products to customers around the globe.”

Brisbane’s Katrina Kehoe won the first-ever Trailblazer of the Year Award for bringing to life her vision to create delicious, nutritious probiotic food through her business Kehoe’s Kitchen.

“We are Australia’s first certified organic producer of probiotic cashew dips, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables,” Mrs Kehoe said.

“We started as a Facebook page recipe blog and selling our products at a local organic market, and now have more than 25 products in our range.

“Today, we supply independent wholesalers, retailers and major supermarkets across Australia, and also export our product overseas.”

Trailblazer of the Year Award winner, Katrina Kehoe of Kehoe’s Kitchen

The winner of the Young Organic Leader Award, Rachel Davis is a vocal advocate for the organic industry and works as Sales and Development Manager for retailer Eco-Farms, which sells a diverse range of organic foods domestically and overseas.

Eco-Farms began in 1986 and has now grown to four distribution centres Australia-wide and employs 200 people to support its growing business.

Young Organic Leader of the Year Award winner, Rachel Davis of Eco-Farms

AOL’s Ms Ford said it was an exciting time for the dynamic organic sector.

“As consumers change their lifestyles and make the shift to purchasing more organic pantry items, the Australian certified organic industry will continue to expand and prosper at an impressive rate,” she said.

The Australian Organic 7th Annual Industry Awards were celebrated in a virtual ceremony on Friday, 12 November.

Learn more here.