Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can supply food for domestic consumption as well as distribution to other markets.
Organic farming in the Netherlands has a long history dating back to the 16th-century tulip industry, and the Netherlands still plays an important role in 21st-century organic food production and trade.
In 2016, the organic food market in the Netherlands grew by 10 percent to reach €1.4 billion. In the last 10 years, the market tripled in size indicating the potential of the market. To meet the rising demand for organic products, many farmers have converted to organic operations; about 250 farmers took this step in 2016.
The Netherlands is the ninth-largest organic food market in the world, in a country with a population of only 17 million people. Among the leading areas for organic food production is cheese.
The Wisconsin organic food industry is top-notch, and is a world leader when it comes to agricultural products including corn, oats, beans and hay acreage. Between 2008 and 2014, the organic acreage in Wisconsin increased by 17 percent, indicating the success of, and interest in, organic food. Currently, the U.S. is the fourth-largest trading partner of the Netherlands when it comes to organic food, making it an important partner already, with room for further growth.
Demand for organic food in the Netherlands and across Europe is increasing faster than supply, which creates opportunities for Wisconsin companies because of the need to import organic food from abroad. There are not only opportunities for fresh and natural organic food products, but also for food that is made in a sustainable and a responsible way with respect for the environment. These factors drive consumer purchasing decisions: healthy and sustainable production is perceived as either important or very important by 43 percent of the Dutch population.
Because of its central location in Europe and maritime transport connections, the Netherlands is a distribution hub. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, and Amsterdam is also a key hub for food importers and exporters, making the Netherlands a promising export market not only for domestic consumption but also as a distribution point to other countries.
Dutch domestic organic consumption amounts to about €1.4 billion annually. However, the country’s organic food imports are valued at €4.6 billion, and exports of organic food at €7.1 billion. From the Netherlands, food is exported to about 150 different countries around the world, making the Netherlands a strategic food market on a global level.
To learn about the Dutch market and meet importers and distributors in the market, visiting a trade show is recommended. Consider the following opportunities:
- Vakbeurs Foodspecialiteiten, Oct. 2-3
A fast-growing fair with about 5,600 visitors and over 250 booths in 2016, this fair is perfect for domestic but also international companies interested in the Dutch market. Aside from closing new deals, the fair offers interesting opportunities to discover new sustainable techniques and make new connections, as well as promote one’s own products to a growing organic food market.
Biobeurs, Jan. 23-24
This is the most important Dutch fair when it comes to organic food, with opportunities to meet potential customers and discover their needs, but also to share new technologies and innovations and learn from one another. The fair attracted about 10,000 visitors last time it was held.