The price of organic food in supermarkets and major chains is no cheaper than in specialist retailers, according to a new survey by the French consumer group CLCV.
The finding suggests that the pledges by major grocery multiples to make organic more affordable, and bolder claims of “democratising organic”, are not being kept. CLCV says that a lack of transparency on the “construction of pricing” means it is often difficult to tell whether the ‘organic premium’ is justified.
The CLCV survey looked at the pricing of organic and conventional versions of seven top sellers in the fruit and vegetable category – carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, white grapes and apples.
The survey found that organic fruits and vegetables are on average 44% more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. It also notes a wide disparity in pricing depending on the particular fruit or vegetable. So, at the lower end, the organic premium on bananas was +20%, while it was +71% for tomatoes.
CLCV says that its findings revealed that prices for organic in hypermarkets and supermarkets were roughly the same on average as as in specialized organic stores, “despite their many promises to offer consumers organic products at low prices and accessible to all”.
CLCV says consumers should be told why organic prices are higher. Without more transparency around issues such as distributor margin, it argues it is impossible to know when pricing is fair – or excessive.