Sales of sustainable food up 18%, despite higher cost

People spent 18 per cent more on sustainable food in 2019 compared to the previous year. Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable food, of which the supply is steadily increasing. Of the over 56 billion euros we spent on food last year, 7.7 billion was spent on sustainable nutrition, up from 6.5 billion in 2018. This information is contained in the Wageningen Economic Research Sustainable Nutrition Monitor.

Wageningen Economic Research conducted studies in supermarkets, food service (catering) and in shops specialised in sustainable food. The product types investigated were potatoes, fruits and vegetables, bread, grains, cookies and pastries, eggs, products with a long shelf-life, composite meals, coffee, tea, fish, meat, cold cuts, dairy and beverages.

Greatest increase for On The Way to PlanetProof
The On The Way to PlanetProof quality label merits special mention, as it has only recently been introduced for many products such as potatoes, onions, fruit, vegetables, herbs, dairy, eggs and beverages. There is a fair chance that when randomly choosing a product, you will find one with this label. The result of this wider scope is a five-fold increase in turnover in 2019 from 2018: 492%.

On The Way to PlanetProof is based on a holistic approach and encompasses various sustainability issues such as climate, soil, landscape, biodiversity, water and animal welfare. Other included quality labels ASC, Biologisch (organic), Beter Leven (better life), Fair Trade/Max Havelaar, MSC, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, Label Rouge and  Vrije Uitloop (free-range). These labels show an increase of between 5% and 14%.

The Beter Leven products were the most frequently sold items, with a turnover of some 2.8 billion euros in 2019. Runner-up is the Biologisch label with a 1.6 billion euro revenue, followed by UTZ at 1.5 billion.

Supermarkets and food service are becoming more sustainable
Supermarkets, to begin with, show a considerable increase in consumers switching to sustainable choices. We bought some 19% more products with a sustainability quality label than the previous year. In food services, sustainable options increased by 16%. The increase is the lowest in specialised shops: up 2% from the last year.


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