Fifteen years of continuous progress. An exceptional year 2020 driven by the health crisis and the increasingly frequent use of local products. And then inflation, which annihilates everything. In France, the consumption of products from organic farming fell for the first time in fifteen years in 2021. In 2022, the finding is even more alarming with an uninterrupted drop in demand in a context of soaring prices. Have the French stopped eating organic to save their wallets? While the Organic Professionals Fair is being held in Retiers (Ille-et-Vilaine), we asked our readers if they had given up on their beliefs due to inflation. Some have done it, while others adapt. But for everyone, the most economical solution seems to opt for direct sales, less affected by the rise in prices.
Dominique has been consuming “as much as possible organic” for fifty years. Retired with 930 euros per month to live on, she has seen her budget shrink in recent months, especially with the soaring price of gasoline which weighs on her savings. “I realize that I no longer buy certain organic products such as yogurts or meat because my budget no longer allows me to. I go less often to the Coop and I fall back on organic supermarkets that are sometimes dubious,” explains Dominique. The retiree, however, keeps the biological reflex for bread, sugar, rice or flour. Aurore is in the same situation. She no longer goes to her organic store “waiting for a drop in inflation” and has opted for supermarket products. She no longer eats meat out of conviction and has reduced fish, due to its price. Laëtitia is in the same situation and she loses her temper. “Organic is a luxury now! I can no longer preserve my health by eating fewer pesticides. »
Not everyone has the same opinion on the matter. Among the testimonies collected, there are also those who have “changed nothing” in their diet, arguing that organic farming suffers less from inflation. “The mode of production of organic products is less impacted by the current crises, and the price of organic products has increased much less than mass-market products. The price gap narrows, and the overcharge decreases. I have not reduced my consumption of organic products, I would even say that it is the opposite”, assures Jean-Luc. The agricultural model chosen by organic farmers sometimes pays off when prices soar. Example with dairy cow breeders. Since their animals only feed on grass, they don’t have to worry about the price of animal feed. In some sectors such as conventional pork, animal feed represents up to 60% of the production cost!
“We imagine that it is the diesel that we pay for”
Faced with soaring energy and fuel prices, the solution favored by our readers is clear and unanimous: the short circuit! “For me, it costs almost no more to buy organic from my independent and my producers, which cost less than in the greengrocers section of my local supermarket”, notes Valérie, who has observed a marked increase in the price of products. transformed. “Organic products have never been so cheap when they come from nearby farms”, assures Jean, who takes the opportunity to tackle mass distribution “where the prices are crazy”. “We imagine that it is the diesel that we pay for. Brigitte shares the same spirit. Accustomed to 100% organic, she assures that she will not “change” even because of inflation. “But I’m looking for wholesale, bulk, promotion or direct from the producer purchases. »
And what do the producers think? Installed in organic market gardening in the Allier, Marie believes that it is necessary “to think about its carbon footprint”. “Here, we sell our organic vegetables at a lower price than in supermarkets, but we offer seasonal products. Here’s the problem ! Consuming organic tomatoes in winter, is it really organic if you think about it? When you see the cost of energy to grow tomatoes in winter. It may be organic, but not green! So organic is good, but consuming local is better. This will be the last word.