Penny Launches Transitional Organic Fruit And Veg Range
German discount retailer Penny has launched a new fruit and veg range to incentivise producers transitioning between conventional and organic farming practices.
The new ‘Junior-Helden’ range is part of the retailer’s ‘Naturgut’ private-label range and will initially include apples, lemons and tomatoes.
Junior Helden apples was the first product launched today for the price of €2.99 per kilo in Penny stores across federal states, excluding Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.
The initiative is targeted at producers who are transitioning their farming practices to organic standards, according to Penny.
In Germany, farmers have to adapt organic practices for a period of a few years before they are allowed to use the official organic label on their products.
The Junior-Helden products will come at a slightly higher price than regular fresh produce, but cheaper than organic, in order to help farmers offset the financial burden of this transition phase.
“Simply put, the effort to adapt organic farming practices gets larger, while the product becomes smaller,” said Patricia Brunn, Penney head of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants. “We frequently hear from farmers that they would like to transition from conventional to organic farming but that the financial risk is too high.”
“With the Naturgut Junior-Helden we’ve created a concrete financial incentive by paying farmers more for their produce during the transition period,” Brunn continues. “For apples, the price is 26% higher. However, only a small part of this premium will be felt by the consumer, so that won't stop Naturgut Junior-Helden from becoming a popular alternative.”
“Basically, the products have an organic quality standard but are closer to conventional products in price,” she added. “We hope that organic farms continue to grow, especially in Germany.”
Ulrich Beckmann, of the Altländer fruit farm outside Hamburg, decided to join the Junior-Helden program due to the financial support it offers:
“Organic farming often implies manual labour and you can’t use as many pesticides,” he said. “This keeps many farmers from transitioning to organic. Especially because you can’t label products with the organic label for a number of years, even if you already conform to 100% organic standards.”
“That’s where Junior-Helden does the right thing. It increases the price, which helps us financially but also shows appreciation for the work that goes into the product,” he said.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine