The Netherlands –Biofach Country of the Year – developing splendidly
by Karin Heinze (comments: 0)
The specialist wholefood trade experienced an especially pleasing year in 2013 with growth of 9 % and, according to Bionext, overall growth in turnover of organics came to 6 – 8%. The specialist organic trade, with 365 stores, has a 31 % market share, and almost 50 % of turnover is generated by the conventional retail food trade. The catering sector accounts for 13 % of the market, and other channels (weekly markets, farm-gate sales, internet sales) had a 7 % market share.
Bionext operates as the umbrella organisation for the organic sector, and it represents the interests of the industry at both the national and the European level. Bionext director Bavo van den Idsert sees a great deal of potential for the organic sector in the domestic market and in exporting. Animal welfare, food quality and regionality are issues that preoccupy consumers in the Netherlands too and incentivize them to buy organic.
The wholesalers Udea, Natudis and Odin are some of the most important suppliers of the wholefood trade. All three run their own specialist wholefood stores or operate a franchise system. Having last year recorded growth of nearly 22 % - a leap from 74 million to 90 million euros - Udea is the company generating the most dynamism in the market at the moment. In 2013, in addition to EkoPlaza (picture), Udea supplied 500 wholefood stores, drugstores, small local shops in the countryside and restaurants – but no conventional supermarket chains. The owners of Udea are Erik Does and Erik-Jan van den Brink. They have worked together since 1995, and since 1999 they have operated a joint wholesale warehouse. About half of the 67 EkoPlaza stores (see our earlier report), with total turnover of 100 million euros, belong to Udea, and the others are operated through a franchise system. (Picture: EkoPlaza’s fruit and vegetable department)
The wholesaler Natudis (Wessanen Group) has its headquarters in Harderwijk. It operates about 30 stores under the name Natuurwinkel (see our earlier report) and supplies roughly 500 stores in Holland und Belgium. With its Estafette stores, Odin (see our earlier report) is also creating its own chain. Currently it has 13 Estafette stores. The three wholesalers Udea, Natudis and Odin now operate nearly a third of the total 365 specialist wholefood outlets and health food stores in the Netherlands, and Odin also runs a very successful home delivery service that supplies over 30,000 households with vegetables.
(Picture: Natuurwinkel organic supermarket in Hilversum)
For Germany’s neighbour, exporting has traditionally played a very important role and exports contribute roughly another billion euros to the total organic market. In 2013, exports rose by around 10 percent – German specialist wholefood stores sell a lot of Dutch products like cheese. The turnover generated by speciality cheeses is around 26 million euros.
What also plays an important role is trading products and raw materials, principally from overseas: firms like the fruit and vegetable specialist Eosta, the raw materials importer Tradin Organics, the organic cocoa factory Crown of Holland (see our earlier report) and the traditional company Do-it (Dutch Organic International Trade) all make a decisive contribution to the growth in organic turnover.
A presentation of market data by Bionext can be accessed here.