Organic Products


Organic products can be defined, in the most general terms, as being the result of organic production (see also: Sustainable agriculture). The term “organic products” most often refers to organic food, but can also be applied to clothing or personal care products. Organic production is based on processes which, by definition, must not harm the environment, or human, plant or animal health and welfare. Production should respect the natural cycles of nature, preserve biodiversity and make responsible use of energy and natural resources (e.g. water, soil, air).  

Plant products should be produced using only natural organic fertilisers derived from animal manure or plant materials (e.g. compost, straw, green manures). The use of mineral fertilisers, pesticides and other plant protection products and genetically modified organisms is excluded. Organic plant production is obtained only from organic seeds or rhizomes.  

As regards animal products such as eggs, milk and meat, one of the conditions for organic production is raising animals in a free-range, open-air environment, providing them with sufficient light and access to bedding on natural materials. As a rule, the feed must not contain antibiotics, growth hormones or materials derived from genetically modified organisms. The use of antibiotics and hormones is only possible in individual cases for justified veterinary reasons. The ethical treatment of animals also applies to the conditions of transport and slaughter methods. 

According to European Union regulations, foods may be labelled as 'organic' if at least 95% of their agricultural ingredients are organic. These foods are free from preservatives, artificial colours, stabilisers and heavy metals, which in the case of non-organic products are the residues of chemical plant protection products. Processed organic food may contain added water and cooking salt, as well as preparations of micro-organisms and enzymes, amino acids, mineral trace elements, additives, processing aids and flavourings, vitamins etc. ( 

Organic clothing refers to products made from materials that have been produced using organic methods, i.e. without the use of chemicals. In this context, organic fibers are most often referred to, such as organic cotton or, less frequently, organic wool (see: It is estimated that currently only 0.7% of the world production of cotton is organic. Unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown from non-GMO seeds and without the use of pesticide, insecticide or fertilizer, thus protecting water and soil. It also uses between 70 and 90% less water in its production, which is a major drawback of conventional cotton farming. Many commercial brands are trying to include clothes sewn from organic cotton in their range (see: Ethical fashion). A particular example is Patagonia, which has been using 100% organic cotton as part of its sustainable strategy since 1996. In 2017 the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge ( started. Its aim is to encourage brands and retailers to commit to source 100 percent of their cotton from the most sustainable sources by the year 2025. 

To support informed consumer choices, in 2010 The European Commission introduced an organic logo, the so-called euroleaf. The logo can only be used on products that have been certified as organic by an authorised control agency or body. Products bearing the euroleaf trademark must comply with strict conditions of production, processing, transport and storage and contain at least 95% of organic ingredients (see also: Certifications). 

Although only 8.5% of agricultural area is farmed organically in the European Union, the organic market is growing rapidly. It is estimated that in 2019 the world's organic food and drink retail sector reached a value of 106.4 billion euros, with the largest shares in the United States, Germany and France. In contrast, the greatest per capita consumption of organic food was noted in Denmark, Switzerland and Luxembourg (Vehapi, Mitic 2021). Health protection and caring about the environment are indicated among the main motives for consumers to buy organic products. Younger consumers are more likely to purchase for ecological reasons, while older buy organic products for health reasons (Wandel, Bugge 1997). Another important factor favouring the consumption of organic products is that consumers perceive them as having better quality, taste, appearance and freshness. At the same time, due to their higher price on average, organic foods can be off-putting to price-sensitive consumers (Shafie and Rennie 2012). 

The 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge (2025 SCC) - serves as a cornerstone for change in the apparel and textile industry by encouraging brands and retailers to commit to source 100 percent of their cotton from the most sustainable sources by the year 2025. More info on:  

2021 report:  

Patagonia and organic cotton:  

a) Academic:  

Duram, L. A. ed. (2010), Encyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable, and Local Food, Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford: Greendwood Publishing Group. 

Canavari, M., & Olson, K. (2007). Organic Food: Consumers’ Choices and Farmers’ Opportunities, 

Wandel, M., & Bugge, A. (1997). Environmental Concern in Consumer Evaluation of Food Quality. Food Quality and Preference, 8, 19-26, 

Shafie, F.A. and Rennie, D. (2012) Consumer Percepions towards Organic Food. Procedia—Social and Behavioural Sciences, 49, 360-367,  

Hughner, R. S., McDonagh, P., Prothero, A., Shultz II, C. J., Stanton, J. (2007). J. Consumer Behav, 6, 94–110,

b) Other: 

Organic food: Helping EU consumers make an informed choice,  

Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007,  

Organic food market in EU:  

8 popular companies like Nike and Patagonia that are committed to reducing environmental harm by using organic cotton,  

Eco fibers (including organic cotton and wool):