The most important organic seals at a glance

More and more people are turning to organic food when shopping. However, many find it difficult to classify the innumerable organic labels on products. We give a little introduction to help you keep track of things.

Not all organic labels are the same – different qualities, criteria and labels make it difficult for consumers with the best of intentions to make a decision. Often three different organic seals are emblazoned on a product – who else can look through it? In addition to the well-known state organic seal, there is now also a uniform European organic seal on every pack – not to mention the various brands of discounters and supermarkets . And what is the difference to the seals of  ecological cultivation associations  such as Demeter, Naturland and Bioland? What is the position of labels like Fair Trade and the Blue Angel on the subject of organic products? We clarify!

State organic seals and own brands from supermarkets

The hexagonal organic seal has existed in Germany since 2001 . It guarantees minimum standards in organic farming. 95% of the ingredients used must come from organic farming: Neither chemical-synthetic pesticides, nor nitrogen fertilizers or substances that promote growth may be used. In addition, genetic engineering is taboo and animal welfare is ensured. The EU organic seal has also existed since July 2010 : It stands for the same criteria as the German organic seal, but is valid throughout Europe and must be listed on organic products .

German organic seal
EU organic logo


If you pay attention to the EU organic seal when shopping, you are on the safe side that the minimum standards set by the EU have been complied with. You can find more detailed information about these minimum standards on the website of the European Commission .

The organic own brands of the discounters and supermarkets , such as Penny Naturgut, Edeka Bio, Biotrend (Lidl) and BioBio (Netto), adhere to the regulations of the organic seal, but rarely go beyond the ecological requirements in terms of organic quality Minimum requirements. Some own brands such as Naturkind, Rewe Bio and Grünes Land sometimes have additional controls, for example they purchase more products from the stricter cultivation associations. Alnatura, on the other hand, has tougher regulations and is 100% organic.

Organic seals from organic farming associations

The ecological cultivation associations differ from these own brands, all of which go beyond the requirements of the organic seal. The best known are Demeter, Bioland and Naturland. With these, companies have to manufacture 100% organic products and the criteria for animal husbandry, fertilizers and additives are much stricter.

In addition, the associations in agriculture also think more holistically: water consumption, fair trade and animal welfare that goes beyond the minimum requirements are also taken into account. In order to obtain the EU organic label, however, these aspects are not checked and are accordingly often left out. Seals such as Fair Trade and The Blue Angel can therefore provide important additional information on the fairness and environmental compatibility of a product.

Seal of some organic farming associations


Our conclusion

The different organic seals indicate how much organic is really in the product. Every organic product must bear the EU organic seal. If you discover this, you can be sure that a product is 95% organic. The vast majority of organic seals or logos from discounters and supermarkets merely confirm that a product complies with EU standards.

Exceptions such as organic products at Alnatura, on the other hand, are 100% organic – just like products on which their Demeter, Bioland or other ecological cultivation associations can be found. So if you want the highest possible organic quality, look out for those seals.

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