Rema 1000 Denmark is aggressively pushing cheap organic products. Organic farmers are sceptical of this development.
- Cheap price and good quality: Christian Pedersen thinks it’s great that the Danish supermarkets sell discounted organic products.
By Hanne Marie Molde
COPENHAGEN: A special section for the vegetables, big labels on the meat, and several cases with all sorts of milk products. In contrast to other countries the organic products are easy to find in the Danish supermarkets. Organic food has become a trend especially in Copenhagen, and the food chain Rema 1000 offers the Danes what they want – at constantly cheaper prices.
Organic trend in Denmark
Denmark is a forerunner in organic farming. They also eat more organic food then any other nation in Europe. Figures from the German Zentrale Markt- und Preisberichtstelle (ZMP) show that each Dane spends 106 Euros annually on organic food.
Christian Pedersen has just put some organic carrots in his basket.
- I eat organic vegetables to avoid negative health impacts and because it’s better for the welfare for the animals. The food also taste better.
He thinks it’s great that the supermarkets sell organic products, and that the products have discounts.
- I try to eat as much organic food as possible, but sometimes I have to make a choice between price and quality, he said.
Big success for the supermarkets
Being a national supermarket chain, Rema 1000 Denmark see it as their responsibility to contribute to the preservation of the earth, the welfare for animals and the Danes’ health. That’s why they have a lot of organic food in their shops today.
- We don’t buy organic products just because they’re organic. We buy them because they have high quality and good taste. Organic food is among many considered as luxurious products, but we promise to keep our prices low, it’s written at Rema 1000s homepage.
The chain is currently advertising for even cheaper organic products.
- The expansion has been a great success for the chain, said press coordinator in Rema 1000 Denmark Mats Byder, without having the exact figures for the sale.
- Affects the farmers and nature
35 kilometres outside Copenhagen Allan Bornø Clausen is picking tomatoes from his own green house on Hegnstrup organic farm. He is sceptical of the new development in Danish supermarkets.
- The supermarkets sell organic food as a brand, a way of being environmental friendly. But by lowering the price as much as they do; it affects the farmers, the animals and nature. The price, especially on milk, is unreasonably low right now, and it will affect the livelihood of many farmers in a negative way if it continues in the same direction, he said.
– Nothing can be done politically
Press coordinator for Økologisk landsforening (Organic National Association) Joachim Kjeldsen emphasizes that this is a complex issue.
- It’s great that the supermarkets sell organic products, because it makes the products more accessible for people, and it’s also good that they focus on organic food by having discounts in some periods. But now we see a development where the supermarkets are selling the products cheaper and cheaper, and it undermines the products, he said.
Kjeldsen sees this as a problem for the future of organic farming, because it forces farmers to shut down. And by shutting down, a lot of quality products will be lost. However, he believes it is difficult to change the negative trend.
- There’s nothing to be done politically, but we can try to make the supermarkets understand what the consequences will be, if they continue lowering the prices as they do today.