India Organic Food Market Outlook

India is fast growing in the organic food market, with the ninth largest organic agricultural land in the world and the largest number of producers. India produced approximately 1.70 million MT (2017-18) of certified organic products comprising all food product varieties, namely Oil Seeds, Sugar Cane, Cereals & Millets, Cotton, Pulses, Medicinal Plants, Tea, Fruits, Spices, Dried Fruits, Vegetables, Coffee, etc.

On the demand side, the growth in the organic food segment, which is expected to rise at a CAGR of 10 percent during the period 2016-21, is driven by increased disposable incomes, increased understanding of health and wellness and increased acceptance.

  • Definition / Scope
  • Market Overview
  • Market Risks
  • Market Drivers
  • Market Restraints
  • Industry Challenges
  • Technology Trends
  • Other Key Market Trends
  • Market Size and Forecast
  • Market Outlook
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Competitive Landscape
  • Competitive Factors
  • Key Market Players
  • Strategic Conclusion
  • References

Definition / Scope

The India organic food market is experiencing a robust growth with the rising awareness about the products. A key factor driving the demand for organic food is the rising level of health awareness in the country.

Indian consumers have started to pay attention to the nutritional content and quality of the food they eat, contributing to an increasing demand for organic food. Moreover, consumer spending on health and wellness goods has increased significantly owing to factors such as strong economic growth, urbanization, and increasing levels of income.

Moreover, good government support is catalyzing India’s demand for organic food.

The Government of India encourages organic farming through financial assistance to farmers who are implementing organic farming under various government schemes, such as the Mission for Integrated Horticulture Production (MIDH), the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), NMSA, and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), the Government of India encourages organic farming

Market Overview

India is home to 30% of the world’s total certified organic producers, but at 57.8 million hectares, it accounts for only 3.3% (1.9 million hectares) of the total organic cultivated area. An emerging middle class with higher disposable incomes, rapid urbanization, high food safety and quality issues and an increasing market niche supporting healthier or naturalistic lifestyles are all factors that drive domestic consumption of organic food.

India’s organic food industry is projected to expand from US$386.32 million in 2015 and cross US$10.75 billion by 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent in the MY 2016-2021 period.

In recent years, numerous national-level schemes have contributed to the growth of the Indian organic food landscape, promoting organic farming, initiating new exports from the remote North East region, and improving market linkages between producer clusters and agribusiness, phytochemical, organized retail and e-commerce firms.

Organic Farm Production

India’s organic area for 2018-19 accounted for 1.08% of total agricultural land and reached 1.93 million hectares, an increase of 8.8% from 2017. For wild harvesting, this excludes 1.49 million hectares

Collecting. The main areas with organic certification are in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. In addition, since all its farmland (76,000 hectares) has been certified organic since 2015, Sikkim, a north-eastern province in India, has declared itself the world’s first ‘organic state’.

Fruits (Sikkim mandarin, pear, guava and kiwi) are the primary crops cultivated in the state; spices (ginger, turmeric and cherry pepper), flowers (cymbidium orchids, anthurium and rose) and mushrooms.

In MY 2019, under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS India), 453,622 farmers practiced organic farming and 1.14 million farmers were registered under third-party organic certification.

With estimates of a normal monsoon at 96 percent of the long period average from the Indian Meteorological Department, and a lower probability of deficient rainfall both indicate that India’s reservoirs and ground water levels will rebound.

This is likely to lead to increased productivity, and farmers will see opportunities to turn to organic production and reduce the use of pesticides or other non-organic fertilizers.

Organic Crop Production

According to the latest data available to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), MY 2018-19 certified organic production for all categories of crops stood at 2.6 million metric tons for all categories of crops (MT).

The most developed organic commodities in India are sugar crops (sugarcane), oilseeds, cereals and millets, fiber crops, pulses, medicinal, herbal and aromatic plants and spices/condiments. Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer of organic food, followed by Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Category wise Production of Organic commodities during Year 2019-20

S.noCategoryOrganic Production (in MT)
1Oil Seeds1,069,177.62
4Cereals & Millets271,534.16
6Medicinal Plant Products70,435.97
7Fresh Fruits & Vegetables64,044.39
8Spices & Condiments57,379.29
12Dry Fruits8,480.82
14Tuber Products4,653.29
15Processed Food2,753.10
Total 2,672,232.10

State wise Organic Farm Production 2019-20

S. No.State NameOrganic Production (In Ha)Conversion Production (In Ha)Total Production
1Andhra Pradesh14,120.25190.914,311.15
2Arunachal Pradesh46.90046.905
9Himachal Pradesh5,417.905,417.9
10Jammu & Kashmir28,006.6028,006.6
14Madhya Pradesh9,45,50635,099.659,80,605.6
24Tamil Nadu17,755.26617,821.2
27Uttar Pradesh1,38,35801,38,358
29West Bengal18,557018,557

Market Risks

The major risks involved in the Organic Food Market in India are

Underdeveloped Supply Chain

Firstly, the supply chain is underdeveloped and access to the market is extremely difficult for small and mid-sized farmers located in hilly regions and tribal belts. There is a shortage of refrigerated vehicles and crowded homes, contributing to spoilage.

In order to prevent cross-contamination, organic goods have to be processed separately from traditional products and this facility is not always supported by the current supply chain.

Risk of loss in yield

There is a risk of loss in yield due to the removal of chemical inputs and high-yielding varieties of seeds as a farmer transitions his/her land from traditional chemical-based farming to organic farming. Countries, such as the United Kingdom, have carefully designed subsidies to compensate for the loss of yield during the time of conversion. There is no subsidy of this kind, however, in India.

In addition, the bulk of the government budget and subsidies are aimed at chemical inputs and less than two percent of the budget is allocated to organic farming in many states.

Top Market Opportunities

Some of the major opportunities for SMEs in the Indian Organic Food Market include:

Startups ‘organic’ race 

The sector has become a lucrative business with the increase in organic consumption. And, with new products and services, numerous start-ups and SMEs have entered the space, enticing consumers to turn organic. In India and abroad, a range of SMEs have entered into the organic food market, supplying organic food.

Foreign organic food businesses also procure certified organic food from Indian farmers and producers and create direct ties with the farmers.

E-Commerce – a ladder to grow

Today, regardless of segment, e-commerce platforms are new drivers of growth and are also being pursued more vigorously in the organic space. Not only has the use of e-commerce made customers conscious, it has caused the habit of reading the labels, which in turn increases the interest of their food habits and pushes individuals to an organic lifestyle.

Seeing the tremendous possibilities, key players including ITC and Cargill have also ventured into the organic food market. This growth spurt is capitalizing on the presence of grocery e-commerce apps such as Big Basket and Godrej Nature Fresh, when almost all other organic food companies have an online presence. For instance, Organic India aims at achieving a turnover of ₹5 Billion (US$ 675 Million) by 2020.

Export Opportunities

Not only has India’s demand for Indian organic food undergone a steady increase, but it is receiving recognition on a global stage. The quality of organic food for export is very high, due to India’s favorable agro-climate conditions, coupled with the inherited tradition of organic farming. As reported, there is a steady increase in demand for Indian organic food worldwide; India exported $515 million worth of organic products in the 2017-18 financial year. In the next five years, the export trend will increase.

Market Drivers

The Key drivers of the Organic Food Market in India are

The growing level of health consciousness in the nation is a major factor driving the demand for the Indian organic food industry.

Indian consumers have begun to pay attention to the nutritional content and quality of the food they eat, contributing to a growing demand for organic food. In addition, consumer spending on health and wellness goods has increased dramatically, driven by factors such as strong economic growth, urbanization, and increasing income levels.

Insignificant price difference

There is an insignificant price gap between organic and inorganic food, compared to the health benefits of organic food. Although organic food may be priced a few pennies higher, it prevents the body from ingesting pesticides and fertilizers unnecessarily. This further eliminates, in the longer term, the risk of health complications and excessive medical expenses.

Strong Support of the Government

India’s organic food demand is also being catalyzed by the government’s strong support. The Indian government promotes organic farming by providing financial support to farmers who follow organic farming under various government schemes, such as the Integrated Horticulture Development Mission (MIDH), the National Food Security Mission (NFSM), the National Sustainable Agriculture Mission (NMSA), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), etc.

Market Restraints

The major restraints of growth in the Indian Organic Food Market are

Higher Consumer Food Prices

The Indian organic food industry, however, is constrained by several challenges, including a decrease in farm output per hectare, a general apprehension among farmers to renounce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and higher storage and transport costs due to the lack of preservatives required for long-term storage. These complexities all contribute to higher consumer food prices, thereby attracting only a niche segment of consumers.

High Input Costs

In the context of the conventional farming method, the small and marginal farmers in India have been practicing a sort of organic farming. They use sustainable resources for local or own farms and carry out farming practices in an environmentally friendly climate. However, the cost of organic inputs is now higher than that of chemical fertilizers and pesticides provided by industry, among other inputs used in traditional farming systems.

Output Marketing Problems

It is found that their marketability must be ensured before the start of production of organic crops and that they must also be guaranteed at a premium over conventional goods. The inability to obtain a premium price would be a setback, at least during the time necessary to achieve the degree of productivity of conventional crops.

Industry Challenges

The key challenges affecting the growth of the Indian Organic Food Market include

Lack of Awareness

The most significant limitation felt in the development of organic farming is the failure of the level of government policy making to make a firm decision to support organic farming.

Until such a simple and unambiguous path is available in terms of both financial and technical support, from the level of the Centre to the level of the Panchayat, nothing can amount to mere regulatory action. In comparison to traditional farming practices, many farmers in the country have only vague ideas about organic farming and its advantages.

The use of bio-fertilizers and bio pesticides needs the farming community’s understanding and willingness. In order to improve productivity, information about the availability and usefulness of supplementary nutrients for soil enrichment is also vital. There is also a lack of commitment to compost/organic manure use.

Supply Chain Development

A bungle in the supply chain of organic foods is one of the real problems in the organic food industry. The key problem is the cost and coordination that are introduced into the movement of organic produce grown locally or provincially.

Because of natural resources, the season of achieving the leafy foods of the creation season to the final buyers is most significant because of its lower usability time period. In any event, as the interest in organic goods is growing, the need to take care of the supply chain management problems will arise and the supply chain upgrade is projected in 2020.

Marketing Problems of Organic Inputs

In the region, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides are yet to become common. There is a shortage of marketing and distribution networks for them because, as demand is poor, retailers are not interested in dealing with these goods. The erroneous supplies and the low level of knowledge of the growers also contribute to the problem.

Higher profit margins for chemical fertilizers and retail pesticides, strong promotional campaigns by manufacturers and distributors are other major issues affecting the Indian organic input markets.

Technology Trends

The tech trends transforming the Organic Food Market in India are

Adoption of Robotic Technologies in Farms

Robotics in agriculture, whether spraying or weeding robots or plant-transplanting robots, or even fruit-picking robots, are based on improving productivity. Such robots are gradually being geared towards tasks that are increasingly complex and precise.

Factors such as labor shortages, rising labor costs and the failure of conventional methods to satisfy the growing demand have contributed to the increasing adoption of agricultural robotics.

Crop Monitoring Technologies

A first step towards enhancing agricultural results is the implementation of crop monitoring technologies. Agricultural companies will be able to achieve short and long-term objectives by concentrating on on-farm data and agricultural management technologies, along with simple digitization to leverage data.

At this juncture, creating a strong digital presence would help businesses find a competitive advantage, helping them to meet the evolving needs of both farmers and end-customers.

Together with image recognition software, remote sensing and satellite technology allow users to view crops from anywhere in the world. Mobile apps allow farm managers to submit real-time advice to farmers and to assess the impact of these recommendations.

Regulatory Trends

Government schemes promoting organic farming in India

Paramparagat Krishi Nrikas Yojana (PKVY)

  • In MY 2018-19, budgetary allocations of $11.12 billion (revised estimates)
  • INR 20,000 ($278) will be given to farmers up to three years for performing organic cultivation
  • Procuring packaging material, preparation of labels, holograms, printing and branding of organic produce at INR 2,500/acre (535/acre)
  • For transportation of organic produce to marketplaces, financial assistance up to INR 120.000 ($1667) for one cluster of 50 acres is also provided for producer groups (Please note that the land holdings in India are highly fragmented)
  • To motivate and support marketing facilities, financial assistance

National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)

  • 25-30 percent annual financial outlay
  • INR 40-60 lakh (S 55600-$ 83400) aid by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for setting up biofertilizer units
  • Promoting integrated use of chemical and organic manure, including biofertilizers

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)

  • Promoting zero-budget natural farming for agricultural inputs
  • Organic farming/natural fanning project components considered by respective state level sanctioning committee (SLSC) according to their priorities.

Other Key Market Trends

Digital Literacy and E-commerce facilitation

There has been an increase in access to information on organic food due to the rise of smartphone use in India, combined with the low-cost internet. In addition, e-commerce platforms have served as a facilitator that reaches potential customers across the country.

This is why Tier I cities initially harnessed the growth of organic food, but the industry gradually met potential consumers in Tier II and Tier III cities. With more and more players joining the organic food market, e-commerce platforms have also made the sector competitive.

In the years to come, experts expect an increased penetration of organic food in Tier II and III cities.

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Organic Food Market

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to over 200 nations, bringing economic activity to a virtual standstill, with countries enforcing tight limits on travel to avoid the spread of the infection. Several aspects of life have been affected under this scenario, ranging from consumer goods to manufacturing activities.

The transportation sector, which faces unparalleled instability, is among the most vulnerable verticals to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak. From public transport to commercial aviation, the pandemic has influenced everybody. Thus, the supply chain management of raw materials in various countries has been impacted by growing restrictions on the movement of vehicles.

India’s Organic Food Market got disrupted on the supply-side due to the lockdown imposed from March to October as India is a major exporter of organic tea, herbs, spice and related products, but as the lockdown is eased the demand for Indian Organic Food products surged both in the local and the International markets.

Despite a downturn in the global economy, with an expected contraction of -3% in 2020, the global organic food industry, on the other hand, reported a substantial growth of 25-100% as consumers continue to accept immunity as a safeguard against Coronavirus.

The outlook is even more positive in India, where demand for certain organic foods has increased by up to 100 percent.  

This surge in sales has encouraged several Indian organic online retailers to come up almost overnight in a bid to cash in on the increase in demand.

Market Size and Forecast

In 2020, the Indian organic food market reached a size of USD 849.5 million, powered by a growing understanding of health.

The sector is expected to see more growth in the forecast period of 2021-2026, increasing at a CAGR of 20.5 percent, backed by the government’s support schemes. It is estimated that the industry will hit USD 2601 million by 2026.

In 2020, the retail value of the organic food industry in India was approximately US$ 92 million.

This has been estimated to hit almost $268.5 million by 2026. During the calculated time span, the naturally healthy foods segment accounted for the highest retail market value within the Indian health and wellness industry.

Due to headwinds from COVID-19, India reported GDP decline of 9 percent in 2020. During 2018-20, India’s Organic Food Market industry showed promise and registered 24% value growth.

The middle class of India continues to grow and the GDP growth forecast of the IMF for FY2021 is much better at 7.9 percent, which will enhance business sentiments and support various sectors, including the Organic Food Industry.

Organic food is a niche category in India and a wave that is still going to sweep across the country. Due to the growing incidence of food adulteration, rising market perception and increasing profits, demand is expected to increase in the coming years.

Growth in the e-commerce sector serves as a facilitator for businesses as an enticing path to potential customers as e-commerce channel margins are lower. E-commerce websites offering organic food are dedicated as well as generalized. In malls across major metropolitan cities, companies are also setting up small kiosks.

Consumers in India tend to turn their food habits into entirely organic ones. There is still concern about the unavailability of organic fruits and vegetables and a stronger supply chain is required. Natural drinks such as tea have the largest share of value, followed by pulses and dairy products.

Organic Products Consumption in India (US$ Million)

Health & Wellness10,67812,27914,20015,52616,84818,1588.5%
Organic packaged food and beverages38.646.354.661.669.077.012.0%
Organic packaged food6.
Organic beverages32.038.545.351.457.965.113%

The total Cultivated Area of Organic Farming in India is estimated to be 3.7 million hectares with the cultivated area totaling 2.3 million hectares and Wild Harvest Collection Area totaling 1.37 million hectares in 2020


Cultivated Area ( Organic + In-conversion)2.3 Million ha
Wild Harvest Collection Area1.37 Million ha
Total Area (Cultivated + Wild Harvest)3,669,801.32 ha Or say 3.669 million ha

The total organic production in India is estimated to be 2.74 million tons with Farm production constituting 2.7 million tons and Wild harvest production amounting to 0.36 million tons in 2020


Farm Production2.7 Million tons
Wild Harvest Production36,505.3 tons
Total Production2.74 Million tons

The total exports of Organic food in India amounted to US$ 689.1 Million in 2020


Total exports quantity            638,998.4 Tons
Total Export Value (INR)            4685.9 crore
Total Export Value (US$)US$ 689.10 Million

Madhya Pradesh leads the market in terms of both export quantity and export value among all states.

State-wise Exports during 2019-20

StateExported Qty (In MT)Total Value (In US$ Mn)
Madhya Pradesh3,51,814.2227
West Bengal4,477.036.9
New Delhi20,688.726.1
Daman & Diu36,230.223.5
Uttar Pradesh52,81.813.7
Andhra Pradesh2,340.411
Tamil Nadu3,736.110.8
Jammu & Kashmir816.61.9
Himachal Pradesh10.00.08

USA leads as the export region with more than 80% of the share of total exports made by India

Country-wise Comparative Report of Organic Exports during 2019-20

CountryExported Qty (In MT)Total Value (In USD Million)
European Union175674.4250.99

Market Outlook

In India, the organic food industry is in the initial stages of growth. A rise in domestic demand for organic food has resulted in higher disposable income and greater health awareness.

In selling organic goods, not only to export markets, but also to wealthy, health-conscious domestic customers, there is a significant premium. India has an abundance of labor and has a complex agro-climatic area that is well suited to agriculture throughout the year. It still has effective conventional farming practices.

Small and marginal farmers on the supply side know that even though yields are low in organic agriculture, there is an opportunity to get higher net incomes.

This is because, over the past few decades, the price of pesticides and chemicals has risen dramatically, resulting in a substantial rise in production costs. In contrast with inorganic farming methods, organic farming costs may be 50 percent to 60 percent lower.

In addition to domestic demand, globalized markets provide Indian agriculture with substantial opportunities to capture a greater share of global organic food demand.

Technology Roadmap

As robotic technologies help to increase yields while reducing dependency on labour and maximizing the use of capital, Agtech has an enormous reach.

Food security is a global issue and in the next decade it is likely to become much more of a challenge than before. Technology provides optimism for the agriculture sector as a whole in such a situation.

With Agritech-led transformation, the results of agriculture can dramatically change, creating a world where there is no food insecurity and farmers can significantly improve their livelihoods.

Distribution Chain Analysis

The Distribution Channel of Indian Organic farming market is classified into 2 types

  1. Direct distribution channels
  2. Indirect distribution channels

Direct distribution channels

Farmers/producers sell their produce directly to the consumer without any intermediaries.

  • From factory gate
  • Via showrooms and retail outlets
  • By salesman
  • Online marketing

Indirect marketing channels

With the participation of intermediaries such as wholesalers, dealers, and agents, farmers/ producers sell their goods. You can split these channels into one-level, two-level, three-level, and multi-level channels.

Competitive Landscape

There are a handful of players operating in the domestic organic space – giving plenty of room for new players to become category leaders.

To succeed in this market, companies require the right seed to have a bumper organic harvest. This requires a complete and organized supply chain.

Also, the government aiming to double the farmer’s income can only be achievable when the focus is ensured towards the organic segment and to value-added to the end produce by the farmers.

Key Market Players

Some of the emerging SMEs and Start-ups in the Indian Organic Food Market includes

Mehrotra Consumer Products Pvt. Ltd.

Registered in 2012, Mehrotra Consumer Products Pvt. Ltd. has made a name for itself in the list of top suppliers of Pulses, Edible Oils & Fats in India. The supplier company is located in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh and is one of the leading sellers of listed products.

Mehrotra Consumer Products Pvt. Ltd. Offers products such as Organic Chana Dal , Mix Dal ,Organic Rajma etc. Buy Pulses, Edible Oils & Fats.

EcoFarms (India) Ltd. was founded in 1995 with a goal to develop and promote organic methods of sustainable farming. In other words, retain the goodness of natural products and bring about self-sufficiency amongst the farmers. The project over the years spread to the neighboring districts of Amravati, Jalgaon and Wardha.

Looking at the dedication and commitment towards the promotion of organic farming, in 2004 the government of Orissa invited the company to start a similar project in Orissa. Today the project has spread across the districts of Kalahandi, Bolangir and Ganjam.

Organic India Pvt. Ltd. is a multi-national company founded in 1997 by spouses Bharat Mitra and Bhavani Lev (née Holly Bronfman), daughter of Edgar Bronfman, in Lucknow, India, that produces organic herbal and Ayurvedic health products. The company is most known for their line of organically grown tulsi teas, which are sold in India, the US, Canada, and the UK.

Suminter India Organics is a privately held supplier of certified organic products from India to Europe and the United States. Founded in 2003, Suminter’s mission is to give small-scale Indian farmers access to a global $52bn marketplace for certified organic products.

In 2016, Suminter was working with over 20,000 farmers in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttarakhand, and Rajasthan, covering 110,000 acres (450 km2) of land under organic cultivation. The company focuses on two product lines: non-perishable organic food and organic cotton.

Nature Bio Foods (a subsidiary of LT Foods Ltd) is pioneer in organic business in India. It exports its products to countries including USA, UK and other European Countries. Its products are also sold locally in India.

Strategic Conclusion

The Indian domestic organic food sector is still at an emerging stage yet rapidly developing due to increased consumer demand. This rise is due to new consumer-oriented goods, broader market availability and the emergence of new labels selling organic packaged products.

Multiple certification systems in recent years have encouraged several smaller companies (private labels or new entrepreneurs) to join, thereby increasing price competition. However, organic goods are also priced at a premium. Indians are price conscious, searching buyers for discounts.

Post analysis suggests that bundling two or more attractively priced complementary goods may be a successful technique for driving sales in integrated retail formats, as is conventional in consumer-packaged products.



  • MIDH – Mission for Integrated Horticulture Production
  • NFSM – the National Food Security Mission
  • RKVY – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana
  • CAGR – Compound Annual Growth Rate
  • PGS – Participatory Guarantee System
  • APEDA – Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority

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