From 8% to 20% in 7 years – Turnover of products with a sustainability label in supermarkets increased sharply in 2020

Dutch consumers more often bought sustainable groceries at the supermarket in corona year 2020. The turnover of food with a sustainability label increased by 21% last year. That of conventional food lagged behind by 7%.

This is shown by the Sustainable Food Monitor, which is produced by Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The lockdowns associated with the pandemic played into the hands of supermarkets as consumers began spending almost all of their food and drink spending at supermarkets and specialty stores. Supers therefore recorded significant sales increases across the board. In addition, since the outbreak of corona, consumers have clearly been opting more for sustainable products.

In 2020, Dutch consumers spent more than €7 billion on sustainable food. The share thus remained just below 20%. In 2019, sustainable spending was still at €5.8 billion, 17% of total turnover in supermarkets. In 2013, the share of sales with a sustainability label was still 8%.

As their way of life changed, consumers started to buy different products. Because eating out was no longer an option, sales of convenience products such as frozen and ready meals with a sustainability label increased by 56%. Remarkably enough, the turnover of the non-sustainable variants fell by 3%. For eggs, there is even a 27% drop in turnover for the conventional varieties, while the sale of organic and Beter Leven eggs increased by 29%.

In the case of meat, this trend will not continue. Sales of conventional meat increased by 13.5%, sales of organic or those with a Beter Leven quality mark by 8.9%. Supermarket sales of beef with a sustainability label fell by 13% in 2020 compared to 2019. Because the turnover of the butcher’s channel also grew strongly in 2020, it is unclear what effect this has had on the remarkable growth in the turnover of non-labelled meat in supermarkets. .