The consumer association CLCV (National Association for the Defense of Consumers and Users) found that organic fruits and vegetables cost 44% more than their non-organic counterparts and that buying them in large supermarkets is not much cheaper.
While organic produce has grown in popularity in France in recent years (see below), 80% of citizens say cost is the biggest barrier to buying organic fruit and vegetables.
Organic food (bio in French) is produced without insecticides or synthetic herbicides, which means that the crop yield is lower. This has a ripple effect on the price of the final product.
The CLCV study found that large and medium-sized supermarkets were no more likely to offer organic products at lower prices and that on average their organic fruits and vegetables were just as expensive as those sold in specialty organic stores. .
The study also looked at the price difference between products from different countries and pointed out that organic food does not necessarily mean “locally produced” food as well. For example, only 37% of organic courgettes sold in France come from France; most of the rest are from Spain,
CLCV also found that the origin of the products did not seem to have a major impact on the price and that French products are not necessarily the most expensive.
He said: “For example, French courgettes (€ 4.06 / kg) are cheaper than Spanish courgettes (€ 4.19 / kg). Ditto for Spanish oranges (€ 3.43 / kg) compared to South African oranges (€ 4.07 / kg). With the exception of grapes, French grapes are 40% more expensive than Italian grapes. ”
The study looked at prices in 370 locations – including hypermarkets and supermarkets and organic specialty stores – in 34 departments. The lockdown caused the study to look at less pricing than expected, so CLCV warned there was a 10% margin of error, but their results were still statistically significant.
Despite the cost, the French seem more and more inclined to buy organic products. Sales of organic products reached 12 billion euros in 2019.
According to the 2019 barometer of the biological monitoring body Agence Bio, more than 9 out of 10 people in France say they have eaten organic food, and nearly three quarters eat it at least once a month.
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