Blossoming prospects for organic products

The domestic organic product market is opening up further, with annual turnover through retailers estimated to reach up to -40 million this year, recording a spectacular growth rate of up to 20 to 30 percent. Given rising consumer awareness, organic firm officials believe that this market could double in size over the next three years or so. What is more important, however, is that market experts believe that with a bit of effort, appropriate actions and good planning, Greece could surely become «an organic heaven,» due to its favorable climate. In addition to an increasing number of exclusive organic stores, many supermarket chains are now starting to carry more and more such products on their shelves. A number of European discounters are also planning to enter the domestic market, one of them being Plus, owned by Germany’s Tengelmann. Prices are a major deterrent in the organic product market, as organic items are sold at much higher rates compared to conventionally grown products. However, certain efforts are being made to pull prices down. Plus Hellas announced yesterday it has started selling its BioBio line of organic products at prices that are up to 50 percent lower than both conventional products in supermarkets and organic ones. Another case is the Veropoulos supermarket chain selling an organic milk brand at -0.99, or 60 percent lower than other organic milk. According to Giorgos Kyriakidis of listed EVIK, «higher organic product prices are justified… nutrition and quality of living are a matter of priority.» EVIK is one of the two Greek organic firms currently operating 14 stores under the Biologikos Kyklos label. Another domestic chain is Green Farm. It is estimated that approximately 350 organic stores operate at present around the country. Plus Hellas also announced that 40 percent of its BioBio products are made in Greece. Meanwhile, the Development Ministry is preparing a presidential degree which will lay down the conditions for the operation of the organic street markets established in Greece in recent years. Commenting on recent developments, Deputy Minister for Development Yiannis Papathanassiou said, «The actions undertaken aim at boosting consumers’ trust in organic products and achieving a smooth operation of street markets on a very specific regime.» He added that a series of deliberations have taken place with organic growers to record their standpoints, and stressed that only growers would be involved in organic street markets. He said organic traders could sell their products on conventional street markets. According to bio-grower association data, 25 organic street markets operate in Greece today, 16 in the Attica region.