Covid-19 and extra commitment to sustainable food determine the revenue development in the sales channels

Consumers spent 9.5 billion euros on sustainable food in 2021. We spend more and more money on products with brands such as Beter Leven, Biologisch and Rainforest Alliance.

This is evident from the Sustainable Food Monitor 2021, carried out by Wageningen University & Research on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The monitor looks at consumer spending on products with a sustainability label through three sales channels: supermarkets, food services such as hospitality and catering, and specialty stores for sustainable food. The measured quality marks are ASC, Organic, Beter Leven, Fairtrade, MSC, Onthe way to PlanetProof, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified and Vrije Uitloop.

Share of expenditure on food with a brand is increasing
The share of sustainable food in total food expenditure has increased from 17% to 19%. There is greater supply and demand for these products. The costs of certified products have increased in almost all product groups. Total expenditure on sustainable food will increase by 12% in 2021 compared to 2020. This increase is particularly visible in supermarkets. The total consumption of all types of food, including products without the measured brands, increased by 1% in 2021. Due to the restrictive corona measures within, for example, the catering industry and catering, expenses there are lower than in 2020, just like in 2020.

Expenses per purchase channel
Food services such as hospitality, catering, and healthcare institutions showed some improvement in food sales in 2021. Spending on sustainable food has increased by 6%, and total spending on all types of food has increased by 8%. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, food service costs in 2021 will still be lower than in the years before the corona pandemic.

Supermarkets showed an increase in purchases of sustainable food, namely by 14%. Supermarkets thus contribute the most to the increase in total sustainable consumption. Total consumption of all types of food in supermarkets will be relatively high in 2021 as in 2020, despite a slight decrease of 1% in 2021. This is a result of COVID-19 food service restrictions in the second corona year.

Sustainable food specialty stores saw a 2% increase in spending. These are shops that mainly sell food of organic and biodynamic origin.
Costs of quality brands

The largest percentage increase in spending in all measured sales channels can be seen for products with Rainforest Alliance (+110%) and On the Way to PlanetProof (+32%). The increase in spending on Rainforest Alliance certified products is partly due to the merger of Rainforest Alliance with UTZ Certified in 2018. After this, a new standard called Rainforest Alliance was developed with a new logo design. The growth in On the Way to PlanetProof is primarily due to the further scaling up in the supermarket channel. Consumers spent the most on products with the Beter Leven brand, approx. €3.2 billion, followed by Organic, €1.6 billion. The Rainforest Alliance follows with €1.3 billion.

Almost all product groups are purchased more sustainably than in 2020
More sustainable purchases were made in almost all product groups than last year.

Meat and processed meat (EUR 2.2 billion, +3% compared to 2020), Durable products, compound meals and other (EUR 1.6 billion, +27%) and dairy products (EUR 1.2 billion, + 12%) were product groups with the largest share of consumer spending on sustainable food in 2021.

Beverages were a product group with the largest increase in revenue for sustainable food in 2021 (+36%). The increase is due to the emergence of quality brands such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic in this product group, especially for juices.
Long-lasting products, compound meals and other (+338 million euros) and potatoes, vegetables and fruit (+201 million euros) were the product groups with the largest absolute increase in the period 2020-2021.

Eggs and food, unspecified, show a decrease of 3% and 4% respectively in spending on products with a sustainability label. At Eggs, costs for all types of eggs fell by 4%. Some of the free-range eggs could not be sold under a quality label in 2021 due to the obligation to keep in cages due to bird flu.

Source: WUR

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