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Survey on data needs of endusers finalized

The OrganicDataNetwork project aims to increase the transparency of the European market for organic food through better availability of market intelligence about the European organic sector in order to meet the needs of policy makers and market actors involved in organic markets. Included in these actor groups are the end users of organic market data, so a European-wide web survey was conducted in summer 2012.


The aim of the survey was to identify the needs and demands of end users and to identify areas where lack of information causes competitive disadvantage. Data needs include needs for both available and unavailable data, so questions were asked about the quality of available data as well as about demand for data that remains unmet because of unavailability or inaccessibility.

Of the 816 people, who received the invitation to participate, the survey was completed by 256 people (31%) from 36 European countries, most of who work for/as organic producers (39%), distributors of organic products (29%), or processors of organic products (22%). The majority of the respondents themselves were engaged in management (46%), sales (27%), or marketing (22%).

The respondents reported that data relevance is the most important quality criterion in the decision of whether to use a particular data type, with other quality indicators, such as affordability, availability, accuracy, timeliness, and comparability being ranked approximately equally. The most important reason offered for choosing not to use existing data was lack of relevance. Price, comparability, infrequency, and inaccuracy were rarely mentioned as reasons for not using available data, which suggests that if data is relevant and needed, users will make do with whatever data they can get and will pay whatever they must to get it. Approximately 25% of respondents reported that they are unable to access all of the data that they need. Of these, almost all reported that they feel at a competitive disadvantage due to lack of data, which suggests that data asymmetry is widespread. All of the respondents would access the data that they need if it were available.

Analysis of the collected survey data is ongoing and more detailed descriptions of end users’ needs according to data type and country will be available by the end of this year.

Further information


Robert Home, FiBL