Inflation: Organic produce sales are collapsing

Inflation: Organic produce sales are collapsing

For membership, 2022 is a lean year. “There is a decrease in consumption volume, probably by about 7 to 10% during 2022. And 10 to 12% in niche brands.”notes Perec de Ron, President of Biocoop and Maison de la Bio, which brings together professionals in the sector.

However, the sector’s turnover has tripled over the past decade, from 4 to 12 billion euros. If 2020 saw an increase of 12% in the market for organic products, in a context in which tied households were willing to invest more in food due in particular to increased savings, 2021 nevertheless ended with a decrease of 1.3%, which is accelerating. sharply this year.

Tips for consumers to combat food inflation

Inflation is eroding budgets

Producers, distributors and economists unanimously point to the impact of food price inflation, which could peak at 15% at the end of the year, much higher than general inflation. High prices eat away at the budget of the French, who first cut their spending on food by about 4%. It can be managed, and can be reduced more easily than fixed fees such as rent or subscription. The result: Organic is among the first purchases crossed off a shopping list, along with fresh produce.

“Customers make trade-offs for organic. They go to the market, switch from organic to conventional, and choose cheaper organic.”Biocoop’s Peric de Ron notes. However, the inflation of conventional products is twice as high as that of organic products, which require no fertilizers and pesticides and consume less energy. Continue. Not enough to close the gap between the prices of organic and conventional products, by about 20 to 50% according to Perec de Rhone.

Low-income families aren’t the only ones counting their pennies. The rising cost of living is spreading and affecting more and more families. In 2019, half of the French said they had trouble eating what they wanted. Today, they are 63% and the middle and upper classes are increasingly affected.”warns Pascal Hebel, Associate Director of C-WAYS.

Loss of faith in organic products

Beyond budget considerations alone, a Maison du Bio representative feels “loss of confidence” in membership. Organic products are becoming popular as they are becoming more popular in supermarkets. More and more customers are checking purchases on their smartphones and are surprised. Contradictions Visible organic products. Especially when it is imported from faraway countries.

Above all, the consumer struggles to digest all the commands to consume more green than green: local, seasonal, respectful of animal welfare, guarantor of fair trade, no plastic packaging … Products sold as “ethical” or “sustainable”, as long as they are monopolized by the products membership.

“Today, a single organic criterion is no longer enough to convince. Consumption habits have changed very quickly since the epidemic. Under the influence of more educated consumers, another new consumption criterion is systematically expelled. People were disappointed to see that organic rhyme does not necessarily rhyme with local”Analyze Pascal Hebel. This consumer specialist insists on the enthusiasm for their local products and the success of the local stores that sell them, and especially the producer.

Competitor for greenwashing

Sees President of the National Federation of Organic Agriculture (FNAB) A trend towards greenwashing with many products claiming to be ecological. Among them, the membership faces three competitors on the shelves “Local, which does not mean that it is a trustworthy product even if it is clear that local organic products are ideal. Then the certification of “high environmental value” promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture and “no pesticide residues” which in fact only offers a few Environmental guarantees compared to membershipregrets FNAB President Philippe Clamedio.

To reclaim the land that has been ceded to their competitors, organic producers and distributors flaunt their specifications mandating cultivation without pesticides, without GMOs, and without chemical fertilizers. Since May 30, an information campaign has been launched for this purpose called “Bioréflexe” to recall the commitments of the sector.

Market share not less than 5%

In the coming months, the leaders of FNAB and Maison du Bio expect that players, particularly those who have invested in betting on the growth of the sector, will find themselves in difficulty or even, for some, pushed into closure. In fact, mass distribution, which accounts for more than 60% of organic sales, restricts marketable references. Noticing the decrease in organic purchases on their shelves, they are reducing orders. This phenomenon has already begun. In the West Paris area, an organic brand, created after a ration instead of a discount brand, closed its doors in 2021 after a few months, leaving the walls to … the same low-priced brand that replaced it.

On the other hand, the leaders of FNAB and Maison du Bio applaud the flexibility of sales channels that do not rely on large distributors to set their prices. Thus, they do not expect a huge return from organic farming to conventional farming. According to Perec de Ron of Biocoop and Maison du Bio, the challenge will not be less than 5% of the consumption of organic food. This would condemn him to return again “niche market”.

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