Eating green? Organic food accounts for just over 3.2% of supermarket sales

Organic herbs on sale at a market. Photo:
Organic herbs at a market. Photo:

Organic food has yet to make the expected breakthrough in Dutch supermarkets and still only accounts for just over 3.2% of sales at big food retailers such as Jumbo and Albert Heijn, according to researchers at IRI Nederland.

In 2018, the percentage of supermarket sales down to organic food was just under 3.2%. In addition, the rate of growth is also going down, from 8.2% in 2018 to 4.9% last year, IRI said.

‘This is very surprising because the Aldis, Lidls and Albert Heijns are going big on organic, but their customers are not buying,’ supermarket expert Erik Hemmes told Trouw on Friday.

There are some organic hits, including eggs, which now account for 16.6% of the market, as well as tea, coffee and chocolate products.

Previous research has suggested that price is a major reason why consumers don’t buy more organic products.

Nevertheless, organic food lobby group Bionext said in May that in 2019, 95.1% of all Dutch households bought at least one organic product and almost nine in ten did this in a supermarket.


Hemmes suggests that the rise in locally-sourced food and in meat replacements may be having an impact. ‘They are bought by the target group of consumers, and are so competing with organic products,’ Hemmes said.

Earlier this week, the Fairtrade organisation said almost nine in 10 Dutch consumers bought a Fairtrade product at one time in 2019.

And research published by IRI earlier this month said there was a 26% increase in the sale of food with some sort of fair food label last year and that labelled products now account for 19% of sales.

The Beter Leven trade mark, which ranks the conditions livestock are kept in according to a system of stars, is by far the biggest of these, but the MSC, ASC and On the way to PlanetProof labels also showed strong growth, the organisation said.

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