Nuremberg – Despite the increasing competition from organic food in the supermarket, the company grows from traditional health food stores. As the general director of the federal association of natural food products (BNN), Elke Röder, said before the Biofach trade fair in Nuremberg, the turnover of the organic specialty trade last year increased by 5.2 percent to 3.46 billion euros. The previous year, about 2,500 health food stores had recorded only half of the growth. The world's largest trade fair for natural food and natural products, as well as the natural cosmetic fair Vivaness takes place from 13 to 16 February.
The trade in natural foods has regained its basis, and turnover growth is stable again, Röder said: "We see this as a strength of specialized retailers despite the increasing competition." While supermarkets, discount stores and drug stores contain organic products as an alternative to conventionally produced food, organic health food stores "100% organic quality, consistent natural cosmetics and ecological detergents".
The industry is currently undergoing a transformation process to larger areas, Röder said. 50 new locations were closed with 101 closures in the past year. The trade in organic food is still dominated by owner-managed stores, which would have one or two branches, but are now being expanded. There are also a few chains. Another trend is the desire of many customers to avoid packaging. For example, more and more organic retailers have begun bottling dry products in containers that they have brought with them. In the so-called unpacked shops, however, retailers should comply with the hygiene regulations.
Many retailers are also increasingly turning their stores into social reference points by adding a café or bistro, according to the director. "This is where people gather who want to protect the environment and the climate and who want to help make the world a little better."
She sees two-edged supermarkets as the inclusion of organic products. On the one hand, consumers would be sensitive to the topic of sustainability and environmentally friendly production, but on the other hand the wrong signal would be sent that is biologically cheap and that food has an arbitrarily lower price. There is a risk of negative price competition, which puts the farmers under even more pressure.
Even people with a limited budget can afford to be organic, Röder knows for sure: there are brands for price input and they can also be the transition to organic and gradually perform. "If you buy the basic food in organic quality, the price differences are not very big." If you cook a lot yourself and eat less, the budget is also saved.