“Sometimes you need a crisis to create change”

Yesterday and today, farmers are blocking dozens of supermarket distribution centers. The CBL considers the blockades unacceptable. “Farmers have a conflict with the government over nitrogen, the members of the CBL are not involved,” the industry association replied yesterday.

The role of the supermarket in the nitrogen crisis
That statement provoked some controversy, so during the radio program Dit er de Dag (NPO Radio 1) the central question was: Do supermarkets play a role in the nitrogen crisis? CBL director Marc Jansen explained once again that farmers and supermarkets do have a relationship, but “we are not part of the conflict the sector has with the government over the nitrogen supply”. Detail expert Paul Moers disagrees. “Everyone is responsible for the nitrogen problem. It starts with the consumers because they want to buy as cheaply as possible. Then there are the supermarkets who want to offer the products at a very low or reasonable price. This means that those supermarkets have a very big role to play. . “

And Bionext director Michaël Wilde also says supermarkets have a role to play in this crisis. He points to a WUR report commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, which states that organic milk production emits seventy percent less nitrogen. “Such reports should be taken much more seriously. Supermarkets should offer much more organic dairy products to customers, as organic specialty stores do, for example. Supermarkets play a role in this because the organic product that may be on the shelf gets a lot more And to share knowledge with consumers about the benefits of organic products. “

Change due to crisis?
Both Michaël Wilde and Paul Moerman do not get far and fast enough with the supermarkets. Michael mentions as an example that in 1995 there was a nitrogen crisis in Denmark. “This has led to the government, supermarkets and industry associations working together. Now Denmark is the most successful country in the field of ecology with 13 percent organic market share. So in fact sometimes you need a crisis to create a change. And I I hope now together with the supermarkets that we can bring about that change and also with Mr Jansens CBL. “

“I think we should all better explain what true pricing is,” says Paul Moers. “True pricing means asking for a fair price that includes both labor costs and environmental costs. And if you help the consumer to understand it better in this way, you will also see that consumers will have more demand for the organic and sustainable products. “

The consumer is willing to pay more
Marc Jansen calls ecology ‘one of the sustainability solutions out there’ and responds to the attitude that it must be faster for supermarkets to get the consumer involved. “Inflation is almost ten percent. Everyone complains that food is too expensive, so we have to do it in a very smart and step-by-step way.”

According to Paul Moers, consumers are willing to pay more for food. “If you think about what food means at the level we use monthly. In 1850 it was still almost 50 percent of our income, and at the moment it is still 10 to 12 percent of our income. In other words, we have room in our wallet. to pay a better price. “

Michaël adds: “If consumers understand how important food is and what impact it has on our climate, the earth, the animals, then people are really willing to pay more. Of course, there is a group of people who cannot afford it. ” must support them in a socio-economic way.But there is a very large group of people who do not pay it yet because they do not know, but who fly to Barcelona three times a year.And if we educate those people more about the value of Organic farming, then you will see that people are really willing to spend a little more. It is the role of supermarkets to be aware of this. And also really take responsibility as a chain. Like PLUS, which recently did to replace all of their private label dairy products with organic. “

You can listen to the fragment here.

Leave a Comment