A News Article by Jana Prochazka
While the economy is struggling in the Netherlands, bio supermarket sales don’t seem to be following this trend. How can people afford this more expensive choice?
People in Amsterdam continue to shop at organic and biological supermarkets despite inflation and high energy prices lasting in September. According to store owners, the all-time high inflation in the Netherlands of 12 percent in August has had no effect on the number of customers. But people were now shopping with more awareness and reducing the number of products they bought.
As a reason for this, organic food store owner Maarten Rijninks points out, that people consciously choose organic stores: “We are in a niche, we have loyal customers and I’m not afraid that I might lose them.” His store “De Aanzet” has even gained more customers in recent months, Rijninks says. According to him, people are willing to pay for a better quality and more sustainability.
The organic supermarket chain “Ekoplaza” also noticed only minimal differences due to inflation. Their customers are from different income levels, but even people with less money would continue to shop with them. “The people shop smarter“, says store manager Marco Bindervoet. “They are more likely to take advantage of special offers or buy products that are close to their expiration date.” According to Bindervoet, customers stay true to the organic store as well, and the “hard core” remains.
As reported by the Dutch government’s statistics agency CBS, food was 13.1 percent more expensive in August than in the same month a year ago. Energy was 151 percent more expensive.
The high energy prices have also barely affected the organic stores so far. The “Ekoplaza” chain is already committed to sustainability and takes care, for example, to use lighting only when necessary. “De Aanzet” is almost not at all affected, Rijninks does not heat his store.
In 2023, prices are likely to rise further. Therefore, the Dutch government has lately announced plans to help people with low and middle incomes. The plans include a price cap on energy bills and the rise of housing, healthcare and child benefits.