The discount retailer Aldi is launching what is calling an “affordable everyday” range of organic products in the UK.
The German retailer will initially focus on vegetables, where it says customers can expect prices around 25% les than those in its supermarket rivals. Pack prices will range from 79p to £1.49
Additional lines, including a wider choice in fresh meat, ready meals baby food, wine and beer are expected to follow.
Aldi’s joint MD for corporate buying, Tony Baines, says pricing is key: “We know our shoppers want to buy more organic products, but price is the reason why it’s not a regular purchase. This is why we’ve launched a 100% British range at an affordable everyday low price”
Natural Products asked Aldi how it would achieve retail prices for organic 25% below that of its competitors, and if its pricing strategy was consistent with organic industry concerns that price reflects ‘true food costs’. Tony Baines, joint managing director of corporate buying, told us: “We can offer shoppers outstanding quality produce at exceptional prices by making savings across the business, which we pass onto our customers rather than boost our margins. Our costs have been fractionalised by increasing volume and not at the expense of our suppliers, customers or the quality of the products. Indeed our suppliers have appreciated the benefits of significantly increasing volumes.”
Finn Cottle, trade consultant at the Soil Association, commented: “The Soil Association welcomes this news particularly at a time when 83% of households are buying organic. Retail product innovation and developments like this will help consumers access the organic produce they are increasingly looking for.”
But the Sustainable Food Trust, which promotes the principle of true cost accounting in food, has concerns. SFT supporter and organic grower, Alicia Miller, says that shaving 25% of the price of organic “means effectively getting rid of the organic premium”, and therefore cutting deep int the producer’s profit. In a blog piece, she, writes: ” … (this) begs the question of whether it will impact the viability of organic production. While organic food should not be as expensive as it sometimes is, it is important to remember what you are paying for: better environmental practice and a more ethical food chain. Should we be hacking away at that?”