Marina Ferreira
Marina is a Food & Drink Specialist at Mintel, specializing in the Brazilian market.

The use of pesticides in food production in Brazil has recently been highlighted in the news. This is due to the bill 6299/2002 which proposes to facilitate the approval, commercialization and greater flexibility of the rules for the inspection of pesticides. The bill is yet to be debated by the lower and upper houses of congress, but the first step in favor of revising the current rules has alerted consumers and the food industry.

Despite the competitive benefits that the use of agrochemicals can bring to agricultural production, it also can affect crops and poses risks to human health and the environment alike. According to UN estimates, pesticides account for 200,000 acute poisoning deaths every year around the globe.

At the same time, Brazilian consumers are more concerned about the amount of pesticides used in food production. Mintel Trend ‘Bannedwagon’ highlights the growing interest among consumers around the world in finding out more about ingredients and production methods of the products they use and consume.

Organics can meet current consumer needs

Consumers are looking for healthy alternatives to products that use toxic substances. For example, three in ten Brazilians say they have tried organic food/beverages; meanwhile, a similar percentage say they have not tried organic food/beverages, but would be interested in doing so, as a way to adopt healthy eating habits. These results demonstrate that organic food can meet current consumer’s demands.  

Brazilians have already realized organics’ added value: half agree that it is worth paying more for organic food/drinks, according to the Mintel research on consumer attitudes to organic food. However, more than two in five say they still have little knowledge about organic food/drinks, implying that it is important to develop actions to educate consumers about these products, which follow the pesticide-free agriculture formula.

Opportunities within the organics market

There are definite opportunities for the organic food/beverage space, including  those having to do with the supply chain and access to products. According to Mintel research, three-quarters of Brazilians would like to see a wider range of organic food/drinks available in stores, indicating that a wider distribution of products is needed. Consequently, the development of partnerships between producers and large retailers is necessary to strengthen the organic production chain. Carrefour supermarket recently announced that it will give more space to organic products in its stores in Brazil.

Furthermore, subscription services can be another way to make organic products more accessible and convenient. In this format, the consumer pays a fixed monthly fee in exchange for items sent directly to them directly from the producer. Companies such as Clube Orgânico, in Rio de Janeiro, and Raizs, in São Paulo, are already investing on this new schemes. There is definite potential for this scheme as near half of all Brazilians say that they are interested in trying out services that deliver healthy meals at home.