Voracious organic appetite among behemoths

Organic food retailing in the UK could be in line for a shake-up if trends seen elsewhere in Europe continue, an industry commentator has warned.

With thousands of organic food shops, the European retail sector is ripe for consolidation, says Amarjit Sahota, President and Founder of Ecovia Intelligence (formerly Organic Monitor).

“There are many chains of organic and health food shops in Europe, however few have developed a significant presence outside their home markets,” he says. “As the European organic food industry starts to mature, expect to see more such consolidation. The question is whether the retail sector will be controlled by large groups like Carrefour and Amazon or dedicated organic/green enterprises.”

Examples of this consolidation in Europe includes Carrefour, the leading retailer in France, which has bought the So.bio retail chain. So.bio currently operates eight stores in the south-west region of France. It also plans to open two new stores in the coming months.

The deal is in line with Carrefour’s 2022 transformation plan, in which it plans to generate €5bn sales from organic products. It will also allow the retailer to offer organic products across its distribution chain through the So.bio specialist banner, an online sales offer with Greenweez.

In Italy, Natplus has acquired the MelaVerdeBio chain of 16 organic food shops. Natplus, which operates the NaturPlus chain of 24 stores, now plans to further expand its network. Natplus plans to continue to develop synergies between the online channel and its physical stores.

Ecovia Intelligence is a specialist research, consulting and training firm that focuses on global ethical product industries.

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