Switzerland’s official price watchdog, Stefan Meierhans, has launched an investigation into the profits made by the country’s largest retailers on organic food.
The investigation follows allegations that dominant retail chains in Switzerland are applying unreasonable mark-ups on organic food.
Swiss grocery retail is highly concentrated, allowing major operators to make considerably higher margins than the European average.
Research has shown that Swiss consumers are ready to pay between 10% and 30% more for an organic product. Stefan Meierhans is calling on retailers not to inflate their margin if the price increase linked to the organic nature of the product is already greater than 20%. Under the watchdog’s proposal, retailers would only be able to apply a higher net margin on an organic product if the additional cost of organic compared to the conventional product is 20% or less.
Stefan Meierhans has accused retailers of failing to cooperate with his investigation, telling Swiss media that “for the moment, we cannot exclude that the prices are abusive in this area.”