Auchan introduces France’s first bio supermarket

14.06.2012 By: TRANSFER Consultancy

Last month Auchan opened its first organic supermarket in Bretigny-sur-Orge (Paris) with a sales area of 1,000 square meters. Auchan, one of the top 5 giants in the French distribution market, aims for a bigger share in the organic market and plans to create a chain of supermarkets in this segment. According to Guy Verdier, general manager of Coeur de Nature, Auchan’s bio supermarket indeed offers some new concepts to gain share.

One new concept is the offer of all common everyday products under one roof as a respond to the need of the bio consumer who wants to be able to buy all its necessary purchases at one location. Therefore next to food products one can find organic and sustainable toys, small electrical equipment, cosmetics and baby products. Auchan offers about 13,000 references (among which 7,000 non-food products and 2,000 private label products) supplied by 250 suppliers.

Another concept is the offer of organic goods throughout the year at very reasonable prices, next to products of specialized brands. This is based on a research of L’Agence Bio that concludes that 77% of the French consumers choose not to buy organic products because of the high price. Auchan wants to reach this consumer and therefore introduced the label "Panier Bon Plan" with a range of 110 products.

It was expected that Auchan would take the opportunity to position itself on the French organic market in a firm way. The sector is growing rapidly: in the last four years the organic market has doubled its turnover to around € 4 billion. The traditional supermarkets account for nearly half of this turnover, the other half is accounted for by local and regional specialists.

Competitor Monoprix already entered this niche a few years ago with a chain of stores under the name Naturalia, and according to the daily paper La Tribune, also industry giant Carrefour is in the process of devising an organic supermarket concept.

For TRANSFER Consultancy all this is not surprising. It already identified the opportunities on the French organic market some years ago and decided to organize a trade mission in 2010, which proved to be very successful. Especially suppliers to the retail channel (with a possible intervention of an agent or distributor) and suppliers to the food industry participated in this successful trade mission.

For 2013 TRANSFER is designing a follow-up activity (trade mission). Preregistration is already open. Might you be interested in exploring your products’ opportunities on the large French market, please let us know!