Eco-sales in trade were sluggish in 2021 - But consumers' interest remains' image ' News
Eco-sales in trade were sluggish in 2021 - But consumer interest remains

Eco-sales in the grocery trade declined during the full year 2021. In a comparison with 2020, sales decreased by 5,4 percent. If you instead compare sales in 2021 with 2019, the decline stopped at 0,6 percent. This is shown by the Swedish Eco-Index Quarter 4/2021 from Ekologiska Lantbrukarna. Over a five-year period, eco-sales have increased in value by 13,5 percent.

Sales of organic food in the grocery trade declined during the full year 2021. When the comparison is made with 2020, it should be borne in mind that it was a year when trade was strongly affected by the pandemic that moved a large part of food consumption from restaurants and commercial kitchens to homes. In a comparison between 2021 and 2020, sales of organic decreased by 5,4 percent in sales value or by just over SEK 1,1 billion in cash. If you instead measure the difference in sales between 2021 and 2019, the decline will stop at 0,6 percent. It is a moderate decline in absolute numbers. At the same time, sales of conventional foods have increased significantly during the same period, which means that the proportion has decreased slightly organically. Over a five-year period, eco-sales have increased in value by 13,5 percent.

- That eco-sales in the grocery trade decline in a comparison between 2021 and 2020 is partly due to a pandemic recoil. However, it is worrying that sales of organic will also decrease by 0,6 percent in a comparison with 2019. What we can see in other surveys has nothing to do with a reduced consumer interest. On the contrary, more and more consumers want to make sustainable choices and buy products that contribute to good animal welfare, increased biodiversity and a better climate, says Gunilla Östangård, market developer at Ekologiska Lantbrukarna in a comment.

According to Ekologiska Lantbrukarnas studies, which are based on GfK's consumer panel, among other things, strongly suggest that consumers often lack organic alternatives to choose from. The report “The market for organic dairy products” published in the autumn of 2021 clarifies, for example, that there is a lack of organic products in growing and high-priced product segments such as cheese, ice cream and specialty products. Eco is rarely combined with other premium values, package sizes, flavors and fat contents that consumers demand.

- We can also state that the campaigns for organic have decreased from the trade side. At the same time, we see how sales increase when we activate organic products in stores. During the autumn, for example, we ran the campaign "Feel the Calm - Shop Organically" together with all the chains in the grocery trade. In the stores where the campaign was activated, sales of organic cheese with three-digit numbers increased, among other things, says Charlotte Bladh André, CEO of Organic Sweden in a comment.

Download the full quarterly report here: Swedish Eco-Index Quarter 4