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German organic market: Whole food shops back on course for growth

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The first three months of 2018 are the second consecutive quarter of positive sales developments on the German organic market: On a like-for-like basis, the average daily turnover of the companies surveyed for the turnover barometer rose by 10.3%.

Sales barometer: Results for the first quarter of 2018

In January 2018 (identical number of trading days), the daily turnover increased by 5.9% (previous year -1.1%). In February 2017, sales had stagnated (+0.1%), in February 2018 an increase of 7.8% was achieved. March 2018 (with Easter at the end of the month) shows an increase of 17.1%. In March 2017 (one more day of sales and Easter in April), the daily turnover fell by 5.6% in contrast to the previous year. This corresponds to an increase of 12.8% for absolute sales in March (as there is one day of selling less than in 2017). Overall, growth of 10.3% was recorded for the first quarter of 2018. As a reminder: The first half of 2017 had the weakest quarterly developments in fourteen years.

No exact statements can be made here about developments and growth of organic in German conventional food retailing (food retail). However, relevant growth is also possible here, as intensive marketing campaigns are underway for the organic product ranges that continue to be small there. For the year 2017 as a whole, the growth of 8.8% in the organic product ranges in the food retail sector was significantly higher than in the specialist organic food trade for the second year in a row (full year 2017, +1.4%).

The sales performance of the various types of businesses:

Farm shops

The farm shops had an average decline of 1.9% in the first three months of 2017 (+1.2% overall in 2017); at 13.4% they are currently achieving the strongest growth.

Whole food shops

With a small plus of 0.1%, the small health food shops and health food stores showed the weakest daily sales development in 2017 as a whole. In the first three months of 2018, they achieved an increase of 10.1%.

Organic supermarkets

The organic supermarkets had grown by 1.8% in 2017 as a whole. In the first quarter of 2018, they will achieve an increase in daily turnover of 10.3%.

Chart: Sales barometer 1st Quarter 2018

Profiling is inevitable

The traditional food retail sector has considerably expanded its organic product ranges in 2017 and 2018 and is currently presenting them with a great deal of advertising, perhaps the organic food sector also benefits from this. However, a simple "Keep it up" will not work in the future. Increasing competition is forcing successful companies in particular to raise their profile and position themselves clearly in the market.

On the long term, simply selling organic food is definitely not enough for business success in the future. Obviously, responsible consumers want far more from organic shops and organic markets than "just" genuine and authentic organic food: On the one hand, it is a matter of potentially trivial things as service and product diversity, as well as credibility, authenticity and individuality. The owner-managed specialized trade has to develop its unique selling points precisely and communicate them purposefully and convincingly in order to remain in the market permanently and not become replacable or superfluous.




Specialised Food Retail Trade



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