27 June 2000
Price war to hit organic conversion?

FARMERS may shy away from organic conversion if a supermarket price war over the produce breaks out, reports the Financial Times.

The newspaper reports that leading growers groups gave a lukewarm welcome to the Iceland chains recent plans to provide cut-price organic food.

Farmers who have converted fear their expense and efforts could be undone if a price war whittles away their 25-30% premium.

The newspaper says there are already signs that a price war could be looming.

Asda has cut organic meat prices by 8%, and the Co-op has pledged to slashed prices on 100 organic lines.

Organic advocates fear “heavy-handed attempts to transform organic food from middle-class speciality to mass-market phenomenon could strangle the sector in its infancy”.

The FT warns that farmers taking their first faltering steps into organic production will considering sticking with intensive production.

“This is a very young sector and it needs nurturing, not distorting,” said the Soil Associations Simon Brenman.