Shopping for organic fruit and vegetables in France is cheaper in organic stores than in the supermarket.
This is what emerges from the UFC-Que Choisir survey.
Based on the official quotations published for twenty-four fruit and vegetable references4, the OFC-Que Choisir denounces the exorbitant level of gross margins on organic products: on average, 75% higher than conventional ones. Worse still worse, this average mask very large disparities between products, and it is on the most consumed products that supermarkets raise their margins.
If the margin level is equivalent to the conventional level for onion, garlic or carrot, the gross margins on the three most consumed types of fruit and vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes and apples) are 83%, 109% and 149% respectively higher than conventional ones. The palm of excess margins goes to leeks, where supermarket distribution has margins 2,5 times higher on organic products than conventional ones (+ 165%).
According to the French consumer newspaper: “we must stop believing that the cost of organic products derives exclusively from additional agricultural costs… .. So, in the case of apples, for example, while the agricultural price of organic products is 70% higher than to conventional products, the gross distribution margin is two and a half times higher. Consequently, the shelf price for organic products is double that of conventional products. "
Compared to the same 2017 study, the supermarkets' gross margin on organic consumption decreased only slightly, by 6%.
"This evolution - according to UFC-Que Choisir - allows to contradict the argument of the GDO according to which their margins are defined in a fixed way according to the technical constraints of the shelves only and shows that, on the contrary, they are adapted according to a purely commercial logic . However, this practice is particularly onerous for consumers' budgets: if supermarkets applied the same margin to conventional products as conventional agriculture, the annual budget for the consumption of organic fruit and vegetables would decrease by 18%, or € 121 per family! "
There is a possibility for consumers: choose specialized stores. A recent price survey conducted by the UFC-Que Choisir with the help of its volunteers shows that specialty stores can be affordable. In fact, although they are generally more expensive than supermarkets if all organic products are taken into account, the situation is very different only for fruit and vegetables, whose prices are 19% lower in specialized stores compared to large-scale distribution.