Number of natural food stores grows day by day

The number of companies that produce natural foods in Poland is increasing, although most of the output is sold abroad.

“The long-standing growth in the popularity of natural foods” is behind the increase, said Michal Rzytki, head of the Department of Natural Foods in the Ministry of Agriculture.

More than 200 companies produced foods that were not grown with fertilizers or pesticides in 2007 – a 27 percent increase over 2006. Poles can buy natural foods in 600 supermarkets and 160 natural-food shops. The Tesco and Auchan supermarkets label such foods with an “o!Eco” logo.

Few Polish producers focus on the domestic market, however. That’s because natural foods are more popular and fashionable abroad.

A good example is the Polgrunt company, which exports naturally grown tofu and other soybean products to Germany.

Germany is Europe’s biggest natural-foods market. Germans spent 4.6 bln euro on natural foods in 2007. Poles spent only 95 mln euro.

The German-Polish consulting company Sixty-Two said if Poland continues to increase its production of natural foods, it could become one of Europe’s biggest players. In 2005 Polish farmers devoted 82,000 hectares to natural food. They doubled that figured to 167,000 hectares in 2007.

Waldemar Sadowski of Klastra Bioprodukt said the European Union is helping Poles who want to sell natural foods abroad by giving them money to obtain EU certification that their products are natural. Certification is needed before they can sell to customers in other EU countries.

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