The Kenyan organic market has been growing remarkably since the introduction of formal organic agriculture in the mid 80’s. Organic food has slowly developed from what has been perceived as traditional/indigenous to modern contemporary healthy lifestyle. There has been a big push to shift from conventional and fast foods to more local, indigenous and organic foods.
As a conservative estimate, the organic markets are growing by between 15- 20%, most of growth being experienced in the vegetable market sector. This shift of consumption to healthy foods has been pushed by widespread cultivation of vegetables along polluted rivers with a risk of heavy metal contamination. There has also been mushrooming of herbal clinics all over the country which have a common message: eat local, traditional organic foods.
The value of the organic market in the country is estimated to have reached Kshs. 10 million worth in annual turnover. Organic foods are now finding their way into the supermarkets where they are distinctively placed in a section like in Nakumatt supermarkets or mixed up with conventional products. Hotels and restaurants have also shown interest in serving organic menus especially for tourist hotels and lodges. Currently, we have a restaurant dedicated to serve organic food. This restaurant, Bridges Organic Health Restaurant, is situated at the heart of Nairobi. Organic consumption is currently concentrated to the upper-middle income population with more consumption and awareness recorded among expatriates and higher educated population (consumer survey on attitudes and preferences towards organic foods in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, 2006).
Most shopping malls in the upmarket have seen development of healthy shops most of which are selling imported health supplements. This trend will continue to facilitate faster development of organic markets in Kenya.