Consumers are abandoning organic and some companies too, at least in part. To reach a wider clientele, Prana, which specializes in healthy granolas and snacks, has decided to develop healthy, non-certified organic nut mixes – unlike its usual offer – aimed at the low-cost retailer market such as Maxi or Super C.
“We want to have an impact. To have an impact, it takes volume, it takes visibility, you have to be everywhere,” says Marie-Josée Richer, co-founder of Prana, during an interview with La Presse. She adds that her business has had to “adjust” to stay accessible.
This observation was also made recently during a webinar attended by representatives of NielsenIQ: there is a drop in sales of organic products in grocery stores. Prana felt it, the Union of Organic Milk Producers of Quebec too.
While the company led by Ms. Richer has no intention of abandoning organic, after much internal discussion, it has decided not to cater only to “consumers who can afford to buy Organic Products “. It has therefore developed conventional nut mixtures (notably with chocolate, beans and edamame), which are therefore less expensive.
“It’s quite a move for Prana,” Ms. Richer insists. But the idea, she illustrates, is not just to be “in the little $9.99 health food store.” This is why the company known in particular for its cereals and biscuits has decided to expand its range with conventional, non-certified organic products.
“It was designed for discount stores because of the format, the placement in the grocery store. Loblaw was the first [company] to jump at the chance. »
Discussions are currently taking place between the company and the retailer, confirmed Johanne Héroux, senior director, corporate affairs and communications at Loblaw (Maxi, Provigo).
Also in the more niche granola niche, Geneviève Gagnon, president of La Fourmi bionique, also notes that there is “a certain price sensitivity” on the part of customers. “There are price changes on the shelves,” she recalls. With inflation, Ms. Gagnon is comforting herself in her choice not to have opted for a “100% organic strategy”. “We use organic and conventional ingredients. In the case of almonds, for example, as prices are volatile, we have always remained conventional. »
On the side of the Union of Organic Milk Producers of Quebec (SPLBQ), President Bryan Denis recognizes “that there is a certain slowdown”. For the current year, he forecasts a drop in sales of 3%. The competition with other beverages (oat, almond or soy) is particularly fierce. Despite everything, Mr. Denis has no intention of abandoning the type of production in which he has worked for 22 years.
Moreover, in these inflationary times when consumers are looking to save money, Avril supermarkets, which sell organic and niche products, are not experiencing any slowdown in their sales, assures co-owner Sylvie Senay. “On the contrary, our customer base continues to grow. We are continuing our development plan with a 12th branch in Repentigny in the fall of 2023.”