Consumer organisation blames profit margins for organic prices


A French consumer association has denounced high margins as the reason behind substantially higher prices for bio products.

UFC-Que Choisir: Association de consommateurs (UFC) said on Tuesday, August 28, that organic fruits and vegetables remain on average 79 percent more expensive than their counterparts from conventional agriculture. The UFC blames distributors.

The study carried out by the consumer association in 1,541 shops showed that the price of annual consumption of organic fruit and vegetables for an average French household is €660, against €368 for the conventional equivalent.

“If production costs are higher in bio – lower yields, relatively higher labour – this explains only half of the additional cost to consumers, of which 46 percent is because of bigger margins on bio produce by supermarkets,” said the UFC.

Overall, the margin strategy of large-scale retailers – with obscure economic justifications – has resulted in an annual increase in the organic basket for a household of €135. In other words, only half of the extra cost of organic food paid by consumers goes to production, the remainder being accounted for by larger margins,” the association noted.

The UFC said only one out of two larger supermarkets stocks organic apples and tomatoes.


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