Major grocery chains barely promote organic products
Promotions and deals for organic groceries only take up a small percentage of space on grocery store flyers, Pointer reports. This is in contrast with the European Commission's goal for a quarter of all agriculture to be organic by 2030.
At Albert Heijn, Plus and Lidl, organic food and drinks constituted about 2 percent of promotions, while at Aldi this was around 1 percent. Pointer looked at brochures from the major grocery chains for a period of six months to get the figures.
Only 4 percent of agriculture is organically grown in the Netherlands currently. This percentage is barely increasing, because there is not a large demand for organic foods, according to Pointer. “Some of the farmers would like to make the switch to organic, but the demand is not there. So then it is not possible," explained Jeroen Candel, associate professor of food and agricultural policy at Wageningen University.
The responsibility therefore falls with supermarkets to increase consumers' demands for organic products, said Jaco Burger, manager of ERF, the largest organic agricultural company in the Netherlands. "The marketing behind it determines whether the consumer buys it or not," Burger told Pointer.
Of the 2,000 products that Lidl offers, 200 are organic, said a Lidl spokesperson. "We think it is important that this organic offer, not to mention our other offers, is as affordable as possible."
Albert Heijn said it carries few organic offers because it depends on what "nature brings," while Plus and Aldi did not comment. Plus has brought more organic produce to its shelves recently, with the goal of doubling the sales revenue of its organic private label before 2025. Albert Heijn offers a 10 percent discount on organic items to Premium customers, Michaël Wilde, director of organic sector trade association Bionext, pointed out.
However, supermarkets need to do more to encourage people to buy organic, Wilde said. "Supermarkets have a key role in stimulating organic sales and in that context I think more needs to be done.”