Biofach Japan 2007 Oct 10-12

BioFach fairs are major event for the organic food producers in Europe and Japan. In 2007, reflecting growing demand, the exhibit space at Tokyo Big Site has expanded by 30 % with exhibitors from more than 20 countries.Their slogan is "Where people meet". They note that a healthy life-style has become a trend in Japan:

From gourmet organic food and beverages to natural cosmetics, personal care and organic textile products - the selection of organic supply continues to grow with innovative entries each year.

Japanese website here.

IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) and Nürnberg Global Fairs will be there to tell you more about this success story.

According to the website, Japan is classified as the third largest consumer market for organic and natural products and experts forecast high growth rates in the years ahead. This trend is supported by a number of factors characterising the Japanese consumer:

* traditionally close ties to nature

* food being a cultural asset in Japan

* growing health consciousness to avoid allergies

* high quality demands for any consumer goods

* willingness to pay higher prices for quality products


Pandabonium said…
I must say that some organic foods seem to be priced much higher than they need to be. On the other hand non-organic foods need to be viewed as artificially under-priced.

We can try to allow the so-called "free market" to sort things out, in which case we have to fight a never ending battle by educating people on the benefits of organic food.

Instead, we should look at this situation from a public good perspective. The price of non-organic foods is artificially low because governments allow the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in amounts and in places where they should not. Even if one assumes that residues in the foods themselves are not a major hazard, there is no question that water is poisoned by these chemicals or that run-off causes damage to river and ocean ecosystems. Those facts are not in dispute.

In addition, soil erosion is a serious problem with industrial agriculture. When the soil is gone, we will be in dire straits indeed.

So these are public, social concerns that are beyond the questions of the quality of the produce itself. Why should we subsidize non-organic agriculture through the degradation of our environment?

I say educate people on the benefits of organic foods by all means. But also educate them on the very significant, yet hidden, costs of non-organic produce and lobby to put and end to such practices or at least curtail them.

Then we'll have a fair and level playing field on which to evaluate the true value of competing products.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the carefully considered comment. I could not agree more.

One way to deal with this cost dilemma is to start demanding organic foods wherever you can - such as school lunches. It is already happening in many countries. Get the people who are responsible for our kids to pay that little bit extra for organic, pesticide-free, GMO-free foods. Think of it as an insurance policy!

In Europe, churches are also very active in sourcing organic, fair trade coffee (and other foods too) for their gatherings. It makes a lot of sense from an ethical point of view. The slight difference in prices should not be an issue for such groups...
Pandabonium said…
Good ideas for approaching these issues.

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