3 questions for… Cem Özdemir

3 questions for… Cem Özdemir

The German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture in dialogue with BIOFACH.

Portrait of Cem Özdemir, German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture

1. Last year in this same place2, you told us that out-of-home catering was a major lever for increasing organic food and farming. What’s been happening in this sector since then? How has it evolved?

A lot has taken place. The 2030 Organic Strategy was adopted, the federal government’s nutrition strategy was adopted, the Organic out-of-Home Catering Ordinance was launched. And today at BIOFACH, a company was awarded the gold plaque because its away-from-home catering is 90 to 100 percent organic. We’re on our way!

2. Thirty percent organic food and farming by 2030 sounds ambitious. Do you still believe in this goal, and how will we achieve it?

BIOFACH is the best solution because things are now looking up. The organic sector is once again on the rise following a period of stagnation caused by the effects of war in Ukraine, inflation and higher food prices. Recently, we have growth figures. Every day, the number of people switching to organic is rising. We need to elevate our efforts. How can we achieve that? Out-of-home catering is one answer. Additionally, garnering support from consumers is crucial.

The benefits are very clear. We’re contributing to sustainability, to the world in which our children are growing up. It also makes a difference from a global perspective. That’s why organic is always one of the topics we discuss with representatives of other countries – most recently the agreement we concluded with the African Union. One component is a knowledge transfer in the organic sector.

3. In terms of animal husbandry, it continues to be the case that relatively few companies are risking the shift to organic. What are you doing to push this forward?

This is sort of a chicken-and-egg problem. Those demanding organic animal husbandry say that there aren’t enough producers. And the producers are saying that they don’t feel safe switching over. They need a reliable demand to make it economically viable.

So the government has to temporarily intervene and provide assistance. One way that we do this is through the Animal Husbandry Labelling Act. We very deliberately decided on 5 husbandry types, including an organic type that makes organic transparent in animal husbandry as well. The good news is that the economy is following suit. Those who had already voluntarily introduced a label before there was a government label have now adapted their labels to ours. They’ve shifted from 4 to 5 husbandry types and have themselves introduced an organic type. This means that there will be an organic type not just for pork – which is where the government begins its labelling – but also for all livestock species. This will make it easy for consumers to recognise at a glance that this meat’s husbandry type is organic.

1 The interview took place on 13 February 2024 at BIOFACH in Nuremberg.


Anna Frede

Anna Frede

Junior PR Consultant | modem conclusa gmbh