In my travels around the world visiting wine companies all of them have been shown a special doubt about organic certification due to lack of effective study of the opportunities behind for commercialization. I have heard things like: “clients do not care about organic wine”. For the rest of organic food happens a similar story, probably is a difficult concept for the general public. From the scientific point of view, the reduced environmental impact does not mean that growing this manner is the solution for agriculture against CO2 emissions.
Stores in The Netherlands
In the Netherlands, exists Ekoplaza which I visit as a client. It is a small supermarket in downtown with essential equipment to maintain the quality of a variety of tasty and exclusive products, including organic and biodynamic certification. The capacity for the public is smaller compared with the rest of supermarkets such as Albert Heijn, Jumbo, or Lidl. Imagine that I only saw one cash desk and around seven grocery carts. They also have a magazine that promotes a biological lifestyle called: Delicious to know.
The price is also for me the most important issue to solve. It can not be true that producing organic or biodynamic only expensive is by the process self. For example, the price for 300 g whole grain biologic couscous in Albert Heijn is 2.46 euro, while in Ekoplaza 500 g whole grain couscous is 2.19 euro; relatively less expensive. The price for 400 g biologic brown rice in Albert Hijn (paper packaging) is 1.29 euros while in Ekoplaza 500 g brown rice cost 2.19 euros, relative more product looking expensive. Another fact to pay attention to is the use of plastics which have to be reduced. Ekoplaza is proud to partner with the Plastic Soup Foundation and promotes a kind of plastic that can be used for compost.
The concept Organic is not well understood and companies prefer moving towards sustainable production. Already exist labels making the category stronger than ever. We all know, that working under such parameters is a real improvement, however, it has an impact on the market we should analyze in terms of the costs.
Certifications & comercialization
In the following table, I select a list of products in every shop and search for the price and specifications. Making this exercise several times indicate other details in terms of certifications, packaging, size, and communication behind every company.
|ALBERT HEIJN (organic*)|
|ALBERT HEIJN (planet proof)|
|1. Spinach||2.15 (glas, 330 g, Eko)||1.75 (glas, 630 g, NOT organic)||Not found|
|2. Potato||2.99 (plastic suitable for compost, 1 kg, EU)||2.49 ( plastic, 1 kg, EU, AH brand)||Not found|
|3. Milk||1.25 (0,5%fat, 1L, paper, Eko)||1.09 ( 0% fat, 1L, brand F. Campina, EU)||1.25 (0%fat, 1L,Brand Frisland Campina)|
|4. Bread||3.35 (800 g, whole grain)||2.66 (800 g, whole grain, brand Les pains Montagne, EU)||Not found|
|5. Salmon||8.99 ( 160 g, wild sockeye, MSC*sustainable, Canada)||6.30 (175 g, brand AH, EU)|
3.99 (100 g, wild sockeye, MSC * sustainable)
|6. Margarine||3.19 (500 g, Eko)||Not found||Not found|
|7. Cheese||3.09 (150 g, young, slices, Eko)||2.59 (190 g, young 50+, brand AH, slices, EU)||Not found|
|8. Banana||2.69 (1 kg, EU)||1.89 ( 5 pcs, EU, Fair Trade)||Not found|
|9. Coffee||3.99 (120 g, espresso, brand Ekoplaza, capsule, Eko, Fair Trade)||4.99( 500 g, quick filter grind, brand Perla, EU, UTZ)||Not found|
|Total price||31.69||23.76 ( margarine not found)||Not found|
Advantages & disadvantages
I am afraid at this point we can not appreciate any difference in taste, health advantages, or impact of the product image. Maybe, we can buy certain products at one shop for a better price, which can cost you time in searching and transport reaching the location. In the short term, we should deal with higher costs for specific products.
In my opinion, more than ever food is wasted, food is getting scarce and food-related subjects are creating subcultures such as the ones, who want to eat free pesticide food or buying plastic-free. The choice is up to the market which should adapt in the long term. Wine belongs to this trend, however, it has a different approach because a strong brand says more than the certification.