Organic products still struggling to get market share in NL

Organic products just can't seem to find their feet in the Netherlands. The market share of organic food in regular supermarkets like Albert Heijn and Jumbo last year was 3.21 percent, only a fraction higher than 2018's 3.19 percent. And the increase in turnover on organic products decreased from 8.2 percent growth in 2018 to 4.9 percent growth last year, Trouw reports based on figures from IRI Nederland. 

"I am very surprised about this," supermarket specialist Erik Hemmes said to the newspaper. "Because the Aldis, the Lidls and the Albert Heijns do offer these products sufficiently. But the customer just doesn't pick it."

There were high hopes for organic products when these first started being advertised to Dutch consumers 18 years ago. But "nothing has come of it", Hemmes said. "Growth has been stagnating for years. It is very strange." He thinks the advance of local and regional products and meat substitutes play a role in the faltering market share of organic products. "They are bought by the same target group of conscious consumers and have therefore become competitors for organic products."

With organic products only having a market share of 3 percent, it seems impossible for the Netherlands' agriculture to increase to 25 percent organic by 2030 as is stated in the so-called Green Deal. "Actually it is deeply said," Michael Wilde, director of the chain organization for organic agriculture and food Bionext, said to Trouw. "Incredibly ambitious goals are being set, but we have barely made any progress." According to him, supply and demand must be equal, otherwise farmers will be stuck with surpluses of their products.

Wilde believes that Dutch consumers are willing to buy organic. "But it's like entering a magical gate when we enter the supermarket. Suddenly we become just a consumer." According to him, the fact that non-organic goods in the Netherlands are also of high quality and that organic goods are more expensive is part of the problem. "The price differences between organic and non-organic should be fairer. Study showed that 68 percent of consumers are deterred by the price."

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