Sustainable food in Poland

The Association of Sustainable Agriculture in Poland “ASAP” together with Accenture experts examined perspectives of sustainable food development in Poland and the role of particular participants of the supply chain – from the farmer to the consumer.

As research conducted for the report shows:

  • 3/4 of Poles are interested in buying sustainable agriculture products,
  • 73% of respondents are ready to pay even 20% more for them.

The market for such products in the medium term has the potential to reach the value of PLN 64.61 billion. Taking into account that Poles spent 142.3 billion on all food shopping in 2020, sustainably produced food may become an important part of the shopping basket. The aim of the analysis was to indicate conditions under which the share of agricultural production carried out in an environmentally friendly way will increase.

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Executive Summary

Customers’ increasing awareness of the role of food in their lives as well as their desire to protect the climate and environment and to maintain acceptable food prices have given rise to a new business opportunity. It is sustainable agriculture products: commodities and the processed food products, on which Poles are capable of spending as much as PLN 64.61 billion per annum even in the medium term. It is an opportunity for expanding this niche market into a mass one.

Consumers realize that such products will cost more than the ones produced in a conventional manner and are ready to pay more for them, yet less than for organic food. For enterprises and farmers, it is an opportunity for better margins on food sales and production, but also for following the global trend of protecting the climate and managing resources responsibly.

The market growth will be additionally supported by an EU policy and subsidies allocated to the development of sustainable agricultural practices in farms, the green approach of financial institutions and a continued development of digitization.

Such changes involve the transformation of the entire ecosystem, although, what is extremely important, some enterprises have already been heading there firmly. The greatest challenge will be to ensure such a volume of sustainable agriculture products that would enable them to be offered at attractive prices. Incentives from business to farmers are necessary here, as it is them who, apart from EU and Polish regulations, shape the future of agriculture to the largest extent. Food producers and retail chains should increase their requirements to be met by farmers (through audits/certificates), but at the same time they must not lose sight of the profitability of agricultural production. By declaring their readiness to pay a higher price for sustainable agricultural commodities, by offering favorable terms of payment, by supporting production cost optimization and by helping farmers obtain EU subsidies, they will be able to effectively encourage farmers to develop Sustainable agriculture in their farms. Business advisory regarding promotion of Sustainable agricultural practices offered to farmers is also important.

What remains crucial is better labeling and promotion of sustainable food for the consumer to be able to identify it on shelves easily. Sustainable food, which corresponds better with the preferences of Polish consumers, i.e. high quality, environmentallyfriendly production and affordable price, may win a definitely larger market than organic agriculture products have managed to date.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive summary
  2. Introduction: between the mass market and the organic market
  3. What is sustainable food?
  4. What does the consumer want to buy?
    • Consumer and sustainable food
    • How to persuade even more poles to buy Sustainable Food?
  5. Through the eyes of the food industry
    • Challenges: how to overcome them?
    • Good practices: it is already happening
  6. Additional drivers for boosting the development
  7. About the authors
  8. Methodological note

1. Accenture Research estimates based on ARC’s research of February 2021.