“Work on an unequivocal quality label for sustainable Dutch products”

The transition to more sustainable agriculture in the Netherlands will only succeed if consumer demand for more sustainable products increases. To help consumers with their sustainable choices, a unique and reliable quality label for sustainable products is needed. A quality brand that can be used in the supermarket as well as in the catering industry and is also recognized abroad. Through taxes and subsidies, sustainable products can be made cheaper and conventional products more expensive. To better match supply and demand, farmers, processors, wholesalers, supermarkets and the restaurant industry can enter into agreements with each other. This is the conclusion of the ACM in the Agro-Nutri Monitor 2022.

Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Board of ACM: “We face enormous challenges to make Dutch agriculture more sustainable. This is also reflected in Mr. Remkes’ report “What is possible” on the future of the Dutch agricultural sector. The chain also helps and usually fits within the rules of competition Supermarkets and the catering industry play a crucial role because they have contact with the consumer Also, sometimes the consumer cannot see the wood for the trees because of all the quality marks clear and reliable quality mark can help.”

Quality label sustainable Dutch products
Previous research from ACM shows that the current forest of sustainability labels is causing confusion and ambiguity among consumers. This results in them losing confidence in the quality brands, even the good quality brands. A unique, well-regulated and reliable quality label for more sustainable products in shops, specialty shops and the catering industry helps consumers. If the added value of the more sustainable product is clearer, consumers are willing to pay more. The export opportunities for more sustainable Dutch products will improve if this quality mark is also accepted abroad.

Reduce the price difference
ACM believes that the government should seriously consider options to lower the prices of more sustainable products. This is possible, for example, by reducing VAT for more sustainable products. For conventional products, it is important that the environmental impact of production is included in the price, so that consumers pay the ‘real price’.

Three Agro-Nutri monitors
At the request of the Minister for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), ACM has over the past three years researched pricing in the food chain for common and more sustainable products and obstacles to sustainability. The studies are partly carried out by Wageningen Economic Research on behalf of ACM.

A coherent picture emerges from the three screens. An important obstacle to sustainability is the higher price of more sustainable products compared to conventional products. Consumers are only partially willing to pay more as long as the cheaper mainstream products are still available.

Manufacturers who have switched to more sustainable production are reimbursed for the additional costs for most of the products examined, but this varies from product to manufacturer.

Two additional surveys were conducted this year. The first concerns the consumption of organic products in Denmark. The second study is about the sales strategies supermarkets have for sustainable food.

ACM and the agricultural sector
ACM looks at agricultural markets to ensure they work well for people and businesses, now and in the future. The Agro-Nutri Monitor gives a good picture of how the markets work and what obstacles there are to more sustainable production. In addition, ACM has recently published Guidelines for collaboration between farmers, which outline the opportunities for collaboration for the agricultural sector. ACM has also published the Sustainability Claims Guideline with the aim of protecting consumers from misleading sustainability claims and encouraging fair competition in this area. Farmers, gardeners, fishermen and food producers can report suspected unfair trading practices to ACM. ACM can then investigate this.

Source: ACM

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