Data inizio
17 Feb 2023

In an increasingly complicated scenario, where challenges are multiplying with a domino effect, Bio Bank again takes stock of organic sales among Italian supermarkets and specialised retailers with data collected in 2021, starting from 1993 for organic shops and 2001 for large-scale distribution. The publication 'Focus Bio Bank - Supermarkets & Specialised 2022', 106 pages again full of data and infographics, with new space dedicated to the baby segment, can be freely consulted (in Italian) at this LINK
Despite everything, albeit at a slower pace, organic food in Italy continues to grow, exceeding 5 billion euro. In fact, in a market that has more than doubled in the last ten years, in 2022 organic sales in supermarkets almost quadrupled to 2.3 billion euros (+263% compared to 2013), in the historic channel they dropped to 0.9 billion (-15%
on 2013). In ten years, the shares of the retail channels have reversed: for supermarkets the share has almost doubled (from 31 to 58%), for shops it has almost halved (from 53 to 23%), in line with France and Germany.
The number of branded organic food products in the large-scale retail trade also continued to grow, from 644 in 2001 to 6,005 in 2021. Considering that for every private label organic product (Mdd) almost three with industry brands (Idm) enter the shelves, a total of over 22 thousand organic references are estimated, distributed in more than 24 thousand shops, in the 26 chains surveyed.
Also in 2021 the supermarket chain Coop is confirmed in first place with 1,050 references of organic food and Dm in second place with 573, while in third place this year comes Selex with 421. The number of chains with fairtrade products in their brands rises to 9, with 117 references, and to 15 those with natural or certified organic cosmetics, for a total of 665 references.

Bio Bank's analysis continues by addressing the situation of specialised shops: in 2021 their number will fall again, to 1,240, a continuous decline for four years (-13.7% in total). Dramatic decline also for shops connected to specialised chains, which fall to 434, or 35% of the total, in continuous decline for three years (-30.8% in total). This reduction and concentration is largely due to the gradual changeover between Cuorebio and NaturaSì. Transition started in 2019 and concluded in 2021 with the NaturaSì network at 368 shops, owned and franchised.
For speciality shops, the competition is in particular with supermarkets and discounters. For supermarkets with discounters, which are also very strong in organic products in Europe. For both channels with e-commerce, which has entered shopping habits in pandemic times and is destined to grow.

Among the challenges for organic food is not only inflation eroding purchasing power. There is an offer that knows how to present itself to the consumer as an alternative to organic without being organic (local, sustainable, zero residue, pesticide-free), the risk of fraud to be prevented by raising the barriers of certification, and the pressure to lower the regulatory bar to let everyone in. In short, the great risk is banalisation. Organic is strategic for large-scale distribution because it drives sales and will remain strategic in the coming years.
But what is the point of gaining the whole market if you then lose your soul and vision? If in the supermarket organic is bought for convenience and convenience, in the specialised sector the driving force must be belonging, at affordable prices. That the organic movement holds fast to its bio-identity serves everyone. Even the large-scale retail trade, which can draw inspiration from and draw on that identity so well.

Source: Bio Bank