Reports explore South Korean, Mexican markets for U.S. organic products - Organic Trade Association
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Reports explore South Korean, Mexican markets for U.S. organic products


News Release                                           For more information, contact:
For Immediate Release                          Holly Givens  (413) 774-7511


Reports explore South Korean, Mexican markets for U.S. organic products


GREENFIELD, Mass. (April 21, 2004) - U.S. organic companies interested in exporting products to South Korea and Mexico will face major hurdles due to the lack of consumer knowledge and acceptance of organic products in these countries, according to two reports prepared for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and now posted on OTA's web site (
Landry Consulting LLC in New Orleans, LA, prepared the two 40-page reports with emerging markets funding from The International Cooperation and Development Program of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and OTA. "OTA Market Overview: South Korean Organic Market" summarizes the South Korean market potential for U.S. organic food exports. "OTA Market Overview: Mexican Organic Market" summarizes the market potential in Mexico.


Perhaps the more promising market, South Korea is characterized as in "an introductory stage for organic products." Organic produce and processed products are found on supermarket shelves, but consumer knowledge and acceptance are still low. According to the report, the greatest market potential is for processed organic products. Consumers are becoming more aware of organic products due to public service announcements by the government. The consumers to target are mothers ages 30-40 in the top socio-economic group who are highly educated. Because South Koreans are interested in their health, the report recommends developing educational materials on the health benefits linked to organic products.


Meanwhile, price hurdles and consumer preference for domestically produced products are major barriers for exporting to Mexico. The report warns that entering the Mexican market will require strategic vision that may pay off only in the long term. The primary recommendation is to undertake an awareness campaign targeting the upper-middle and top socio-economic groups and promoting the concept of organic and the social, environmental and health benefits of consuming organic products.


Currently 98 percent of Mexico's organic production is exported, with domestic demand almost non-existent. Most consumers, natural food store and retail employees do not know what "organic" means. Certified organic dairy products are the only organic products available consistently. Getting consumers to pay a premium for organic produce as a value-added product may be difficult, as Mexican consumers associate organic with low-end, traditional production methods. Until consumers are conscious of why it is good for them and their families, they will buy the cheaper products, according to the report.


 The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is a membership-based business association whose mission is to encourage global sustainability through promoting and protecting the growth of diverse organic trade. OTA's more than 1,300 members include growers, shippers, retailers, processors, certifiers, farmer associations, brokers, consultants and others. For further info, visit OTA's web site at

April 21, 2004

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