In Europe, high energy prices delayed the start of this year's organic greenhouse vegetable season. "Also, organic greenhouse vegetable acreage is as much as 20 to 30% lower," says Matthieu Zwaan of the Dutch company Bioworld. However, that is not causing major market shortages. "People have less to spend, reducing demand for many specialties, niche products, and organic products."
"Demand in Scandinavia, always a big organic vegetable buyer, has fallen by 15%. Organic is now increasingly considered a hype there, and more and more Scandinavian growers are switching back to conventional cultivation. Whereas in the Netherlands, certain parties like HAK are switching to organic, the opposite is happening in Scandinavia," Mattieu explains.
"There are especially many organic cucumbers on the market, which haven't yet reached high prices. Last year, those made plenty of money, and certainly in Spain, there's a lot planted for next year. I, thus, think these sales will be hard this season. Organic bell and pointed peppers, on the other hand, are in short supply. Organic tomatoes are currently plentiful, but I expect market shortages to arise again."
Greenhouse vegetables make up most of Bioworld's assortment. But its Best Fresh organic branch also offers a wide range of open-field vegetables, including so-called forgotten vegetables. "That could be seen as a double niche, but there's still much demand for scarce products. True organic buyers, fortunately, remain loyal to organic products," Matthieu concludes.