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Brazil: organic as profiling tool

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Health and fitness are important issues for the urban middle and upper classes in Brazil. Some of the reasons why in Brazil people buy organics are diabetes, gluten and lactose intolerance in particular, parents worrying about the welfare of their children, wanting to avoid pesticides and genetic technology, environmental protection, the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle or simply products that taste good. The offer is becoming more and more varied, and you find organic products in all marketing channels: organic shops and classic supermarkets, gastronomy and school catering, at weekly markets and in box schemes. Examples from Sao Paulo and Curitiba illustrate the diversity of marketing methods.

(Picture: Organic offer in the supermarket Emporio Santa Maria. Consumers quickly come across organic products in their search for healthy food.)
Even during the World Cup, the food in the kits issued to the voluntary helpers includes organic products (picture Ecocitrus), and organics are the official food on sale in special kiosks. The government made available a budget of US $ 400,000 to facilitate the sale of fruit juices, nuts, snacks and sustainable products from small-farm production at the venues for the games. The Organic and Sustainable Brazil campaign, launched by the Ministry for Social Development, shows that the government takes seriously the task of supporting the organic sector and small farmers. Further evidence of state commitment is the national organic week “Semana nacional dos Organicos”, that took place from the end of May to the beginning of June 2014. From as early as 2005, organizations and any of the actors in the organic industry have had the opportunity to participate with their campaigns in the organic week. (Picture: Show cooking with organic products during the Organic Week in Curitiba)

State assistance is significant, but without the interest of the private sector the organic industry would not be where it is today. Various companies are particularly keen to promote the organic product range, and they advertised it vigorously during the Organic Week. The store Emporio Santa Maria, that belongs to the Marché Group (14 shops in Sao Paulo), distributed a brochure dealing specifically with organics and containing information and recipes. Special placements in the supermarket and special offers in the two restaurants were also a way of promoting organics. (Picture: fruits and vegetables at Emporio Santa Maria)

Gabriela Mordhorst, responsible for marketing for the last two years, explains that the managing director, José Barattino, is the organic ambassador in the firm and is keen to extend the product range. Mordhorst points out that, as well as imported products from Europe and many service counters with fine foods, cheese, meat, fresh pasta and sauces plus confectionery and cake from their own kitchen, organic products fit well into their store concept. She says that customers from the upper middle and upper classes are concerned about nutrition and demand quality. Moreover, they can afford the price premium of 20 % - 100 %. (Picture: Organic tea, coffee, cocoa and chocolate)

(Pictures: Practically all Emporio Santa Maria’s product ranges include organics. During the Organic Week, special attention was paid to the product selection)

The supermarket Casa Santa Luzia (picture), an almost 90-year-old family-run business in Sao Paulo, similarly offers goods of a high standard, many counters with sales assistants and a lot of service. The extensive organic fruit and vegetable range is presented en bloc next to the conventional products. On the top floor of the supermarket you find a whole department (approximately 200 m2) allocated to organic food, health food and health products. Some of the offer is also available in their online shop. Their homepage too provides information round the organic theme. Innovative organic marketing concepts are also found in the conventional trade in other federal states in Brazil, an example being the local supermarket Hippo in Florianopolis (Santa Catarina).

(Pictures: Organic offer in the supermarket Casa Santa Luzia in Sao Paulo (top) and (below) in Hippo in Florianopolis)

In Brazil, the conventional retail trade accounts for two-thirds of organic turnover totalling
ca.US $900m
. With around 850 products in the organic range, turnover of more than US $75m and a growth rate of 40 % last year, Pão de Açúcar is Brazil’s number one in organic marketing. For 20 years, Brazil’s biggest food retailer has promoted the marketing of organics. The company, that with roughly 1,500 stores recently became a part of the French Casino Group, is strong especially in the federal states Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The company stocks many brand products of traditional organic manufacturers and around 260 organic products under its own Taeq label.

It states that it works closely with local producers. Sandra Caires, responsible for the organic range at Pão de Açúcar over the last twelve years, is a convinced promoter of organics. A vegetarian and organic consumer herself, she pushes organic products in the company and is confident that above-average growth will continue. She is inspired by concepts in the USA (Wholefoods) and in Germany (Alnatura, Basic), and she is a regular visitor to BioFach. Other big supermarket chains like Carrefour Brazil (ca. 640 stores) and Walmart Brazil (ca. 480 stores) have organics in their product ranges, some under their own brands Viver and Sentor Bem.
(Pictures: The supermarket chain Pão de Açúcar offers the biggest organic product range in the conventional retail food trade)

It’s not only in Sao Paulo that organics are popular and the offer large-scale. Curitiba, the capital of the state of Paraná, is an organic bastion: at 16 weekly markets in the city (picture on right), consumers can find organic products supplied by producers in the surrounding area. The capital, with 1.8 million inhabitants, is the only city in the whole of Brazil to have an organic department in a municipal market hall (picture on left). Here you find wholefood businesses like Biossana and Natural Market selling a wide range of dry goods, the natural cosmetics shop of the manufacturer and retailer Cativa Natureza – also the name of its brand - (12 shops), several suppliers of fruit and vegetables and a shop selling natural textiles. Two cafés and a restaurant enclose an area with tables and chairs where tastings and cooking shows are held.

(Pictures from left: Actors in the organic department in the market hall Mercado Municipal in Curitiba - the shops of Biossana, Cativa Natureza (natural cosmetics) and the organic marketplace)

The producer-consumer organization Acopa in Curitiba is not only involved in staging the weekly markets but also offers regular trips and information events. The excursions are in great demand and take members, customers and interested guests to organic farms and manufacturers in the region. Their destinations include the 140 ha research centre for agriculture and horticulture (CPRA), that lies in the middle of a huge water protection area. At the approximately 20 ha Demeter farm Konzen (picture), the crops include salad, herbs and vegetables.

In addition, they also produce bread, bakery goods and pasta, that are sold under the brand name Amabile. At the same time, the farm supplies two family-owned restaurants in Curitiba, school canteens and a box scheme with around 100 customers. The restaurant AmoreBio, that can seat about 100 people, is run by Rogerio Vanderley Konzen and his wife. At the end of the first six months, they are happy with the positive way the business has developed.
(Pictures: The Konzen farm produces vegetables, bakery goods and pasta for the market and the restaurant AmoreBio)

(Pictures from left: Active organic ambassadors – the owners of the new organic restaurants AmoreBio. The Marfil family, who process and refine organic products, supply stores and schools and offer catering. Box scheme system in Curitiba)

The Marfil family’s organic business has specialized in processing and trading organic goods: the oldest daughter is Amadea who, together with her team, bakes a wide selection of bread and cakes that she sells at markets and in a market café in Curitiba. Under the Marfil brand, they also sell a dry goods range in kilo packs both to end consumers via markets and to shops.

The actors in the organic industry were all in agreement that organic marketing in Brazil is positive: Christoph Allain, the owner of one of the leading manufacturing firms for wholemeal and organic products, Jasmine, has been following developments in the various marketing channels for more than 20 years, and he is convinced that the dynamism of the market will continue. He points out, however, that competition is increasing. ”The Brazilian market is huge, and there is still a great deal to do,” he explains, and sees improving product variety and marketing as the challenge.
(Picture: The daughter of the Jasmine owner, Christoph Allain, operates two wholefood stores in Curitiba)

Valter Watanabe (left on picture) from Korin (organic eggs, poultry) has a similar view. The Brazilian market still has a lot of potential for growth, and it’s a question of constantly improving and expanding the offer. The company was founded 20 years ago and, with five stores in various cities in Brazil, is experienced in the retail trade. However, the majority of products go to the classic food trade, the wholefood trade and gastronomy.

(Pictures from left: Korin store in Sao Paulo is where the company gains retail experience)

Luiz Mazzon, too, the head of Ecocert Brasil (the second biggest certification organisation in the country), sees many opportunities for developing the market. He estimates that the state organic logo can now be found on 95 % of traded products, and he says that customers are becoming increasingly aware of it. He adds that the prescribed proportion of organic ingredients in school catering and the activities of Pão de Açúcar in particular are drivers of the market. What he regards as obstacles to development are the less than optimally organized distribution, the poor seasonal availability of important products and the high prices. He also finds that some of the regulations in the organic legislation should be supplemented.
(Picture: Luiz Mazzon runs Ecocert Brasil, the second biggest organic certifier in Brazil)

Read the first article of our Brazil special here



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