Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

Fresh Food, Rotten Prices

Supermarkets ripping us off with organic pricing

18th February 2000 / Squall Download 3, March/April 2000, pg. 7.

British supermarkets are attempting to cash in on the boom in the sales of organic food by charging excessive prices according a new survey.

The survey conducted by Dr Anna Ross, senior lecturer in economics at the University of the West of England, found that a standard organic basket of shopping cost 71 per cent more than ordinary foods at Tesco, 65 per cent more at Sainsbury's, 62 per cent more at Waitrose and 60 per cent at Somerfield. Whilst acknowledgeing that organic foods cost a third more to produce than ordinary groceries, the survey reveals that the extra prices put on by the major supermarkets were double the extra cost of production.

As reported in SQUALL Download 2, organic sales are the new boom area in British shopping with sales predicted to reach £1 billion by 2002. Tesco have just spent £250,000 on research at the University of Aberdeen looking into ways of farming organically on a larger scale "to cope with the increased demand". Sainsbury's on the other hand have now taken over the entire agricultural control of the Caribbean island of Grenada specifically to grow organic produce.

"When people suggest that the price will fall as demand increases they are missing the point," commented Dr Ross. "Supermarkets are able to exploit huge consumer demand with excessive price hikes on organic food."