The average price of a basket of organic products has been found not to cost more in a specialised shop than in a large or medium-sized store. The finding was the result of analysis by organisations Biowallonie and ConsomAction who looked into the products on offer in Wallonia and Brussels. Specialised shops also offer many more products of Belgian origin.
The specialised organic and bulk food sector suffered in 2022, with inflation and energy prices likely to have driven many consumers towards supermarkets. Yet a basket of 21 organic products analysed by the sector’s professional networks Biowallonie and ConsomAction came to an almost identical bill.
Differences were found for some products: pears, apples, potatoes, tomatoes, leeks and white cabbage are cheaper in specialised shops. For carrots and onions, you can get them cheaper in supermarkets. Butter and fresh goat’s cheese are cheaper in organic shops, while beef, pork and other dairy products are cheaper in supermarkets and hypermarkets (GMS).
With regard to origin, 87% of fruit and vegetables in specialised shops come from Belgium, compared to 26% in supermarkets. For beef and pork, it is even 100% Belgian origin compared to 20% in supermarkets. For dairy products, 92% of the origin is Belgian in specialised shops compared to 50% in supermarkets.
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The analysts also explained that stores specialising in organic products also have far less packaging – many even have none at all. This is a major environmental advantage over supermarkets.
Finally, the specialised shops “offer a model of support for local agriculture and Belgian artisanal processing by favouring these items and by sharing profits more fairly throughout the chain”, the authors of the observatory write.
The analysis will be carried out every three months. It looked into the prices recorded in 58 organic, bulk and farm shops in Brussels and Wallonia. In total these account for 12% of the sector.