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13/01/2021

Organic sector in the pandemic: focus on health, rethinking Values, and a turn towards ecology

The eSPECIAL has three main focuses: exhibitor presentations, networking, and the conference. But the pandemic is causing changes and expanding digitalisation in more than just event formats.

Apart from its impact on health, the economy, and society, it has also turned a spotlight on the need for a change in ecological practices and eating habits as well as movements for transformation. So the conference at BIOFACH 2021 eSPECIAL will be focusing on a highly topical subject – transformation, and how various social movements can advance it even better together: Shaping Transformation. Stronger. Together.

Our planet’s equilibrium has been seriously disrupted – as is evident in our climate, the soil, water, other natural resources and species diversity, just to name a few aspects. But we’re currently also seeing something else: solidarity and values are becoming workable; established relationships and sustainable systems are proving their worth and are resilient. Yet the experts agree – the global organic movement that has grown up on the basis of these values also needs a transformation that looks to the future at every stage of the value chain.

The organic sector trasformation

The organic transformation has to take place not just out in the fields – it also needs a new way of thinking about eating habits and consumer behaviour. Last but not least, a constructive, communal structuring of change with the participation of a wide range of allies, a transformation at every level: for the climate, for greater biodiversity, for greater fairness in the supply chain, and for food justice. In 2021, the international organic movement will be discussing exactly these issues at BIOFACH eSPECIAL.

The pandemic has opened many consumers’ eyes

Consumers more aware about food and health

Ever since the coronavirus crisis began, familiar practices and daily routines have come into question in every aspect of our lives. Things that were often under-appreciated parts of our pre-Covid normality – reliably full shelves in shops, specialties from far-off lands, global freedom of movement and much more – now prove to be restricted. And that has lent new importance to other things: healthy eating, organic products, products’ origins and how they’re processed, regional goods. Georg Kaiser, Managing Director of the Bio Company chain in Berlin, says, “At Bio Company we’re experiencing even more demand for regional foods than we already had before. Thanks to sound intuition and predictive management, our supply chains are quite secure.”

German transformation researcher and social psychologist Harald Welzer says the pandemic has opened many consumers’ eyes. As though in a magnifying glass, many are suddenly seeing the connections between the pandemic and the exploitation of the planet – the whole system, he says, is disturbed. That has made consumers more aware of the relationship between food and health. Some are even focusing on strengthening their immune systems to protect against the virus – many are turning more to organic foods. “We’re sensing that clients are being more and more aware in their food shopping, and appreciate the qualities of organic products”, explains Lukas Nossol, Head of Marketing / Corporate Communications at Dennree.

Retail counts for the system

The pandemic is also bringing the services of everyone involved in retail into the limelight – they’re relevant to the system. Nossol describes the situation in the market: “2020 posed major challenges for food retail. The biggest one was the temporary peak loads on intralogistics as a result of heavy nationwide demand for products to meet daily needs. Of course all the rules to reduce the risk of infection at our natural foods markets were also unfamiliar. Yet we overcame both challenges quickly and effectively thanks to close collaboration with our long-standing partners and suppliers, and at the shops, and thanks to our employees’ dedication.” Kaiser at Bio Company had a similar experience: “With commitment and team spirit, we overcame the challenges quite well. By now we’ve made it all routine. It’s true that we’ve seen higher revenues during the waves. But on the other hand we’ve also had higher costs for things like personnel, installing Plexiglas barriers, setting up disinfectant dispensers, providing nose and mouth masks for our employees, and a lot more.”

Source and full article: https://www.bioecoactual.com/en/2021/01/13/organic-sector-pandemic-focus-health-values-ecology/

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