Iceland’s announcement that it is to take organic food ( into the mass market by switching some of its food ranges to organic at no extra cost to its customers has prompted reactions from rival supermarkets.

Within hours of the announcement, the Co-op pledged to join Iceland in introducing affordable organic food. Congratulating Iceland on its initiative, the Co-op chain said its own research showed that 31 per cent of customers were now actively seeking out organic products.

Reactions from supermarkets

The Co-op, as part of its inquiry into the ethics of food production, will soon launch organic alternatives across a wide range of product sectors, including staples such as bread and fresh vegetables, at the same price as standard superstore lines. Importantly, these will be available in over 1,000 Co-op community stores, as well as superstores.

Asda pledged that its own label range of organic products to be five per cent to 10 per cent better value than the lowest priced competitor. It was said that when Iceland introduce their ranges, they will make sure to keep their pledge, which may mean lowering prices.

Safeway will not be putting down the prices of its organic products. They feel that this will not help UK farmers in the long term. If there is increased demand for organic produce, UK farmers will not be able to provide it leading to more produce than ever being sourced from abroad.

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By GlobalData

Sainsbury’s too, will not be following Iceland in reducing prices. They are working to bring down prices of organic foods with their suppliers through economies of scale, announcing that they were the largest retailer of organic food in the country, selling £3.2m every week and that they have 30 per cent of the UK market in organic food, whereas Iceland has got just one per cent.’

Friends of the Earth congratulated Iceland for grasping the initiative. They say the public wants real food, produced without GMO’s (genetically-modified organisms) and pesticides, at affordable prices and this is what Iceland is now going to do. It’s up to the other supermarkets to do the same.