Ontario’s Big In Organic Eaters But Not Growers, New Report Confirms

January 28th, Guelph – The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) has released their 2021 Ontario Organic Market Report published in partnership with the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA). Using market data from research firms Leger 360 and Nielsen and data from Canadian certifying bodies, the report maps  organic production and market trends in Ontario, Canada’s fastest-growing organic market.

Ontarians have a strong commitment to organic food, with 71 percent of grocery shoppers purchasing organic groceries weekly in 2020—well above the national average of 64 percent. This trend has  continued despite the strains of the pandemic, as 15 percent of Ontarians reported having purchased more organic products in 2020 than 2019. Ontario accounts for 39.3 percent of organic sales nationwide, corresponding with the province housing 39 percent of the Canadian population. 

Despite having a larger agri-food sector in general, the number of organic operators in Ontario is just over half that of Québec’s.

“The [report’s] biggest take-home for me is that Québec is out-growing Ontario in organic production, but is nowhere close to Ontario consumption-wise,” says Carolyn Young, Executive Director of OCO. “This indicates that Ontario is likely one of Québec’s biggest customers.”

Data from the report also shows that BC and Alberta have higher per capita organic consumption than Ontario, despite their lower populations.The report also shows that Ontarians purchase more organics online than other Canadians, rather than directly from farmers.

“One reason for this might be that we are only able to count certified operations in this report,” says Rob Wallbridge, Chair of OCO’s board of directors. “With such a large domestic market and no provincial regulation, we know there are a lot of farms delivering directly to consumers who don’t certify.” 

Market data like this underscores the opportunity for growth in Ontario’s organic production sector.

“We know that consumer demand for organics continues to grow as more Ontarians understand the positive impact they  have on the health of the planet, themselves and their families,” says Nick Malone, Chief Curation Officer for Mama Earth Organics and OCO board member. “Having reliable consumer data gives us a great benchmark to understand how our growth compares to the overall market and the unmet opportunities we can fill.”

Interested parties can purchase the Ontario Organic Market Report here. The report will cost $250 for non-members, $150 for OCO basic members (any certified Ontario business) and $50 for supporting members. Information about the report is available  on both OCO’s and COTA’s websites.

The Organic Council of Ontario represents Ontario’s organic sector, including over 1,400 certified organic operators and is the only organization in Ontario working and advocating on behalf of the entire organic sector, from field to plate. 


Carolyn Young

Lead Consultant, Organic Council of Ontario



Stuart Oke

Program Manager, The Organic Council of Ontario

519-827-1221 ex 103


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