Organic products have a positive effect on people, animals and the environment as they are less contaminated with hazardous substances. For example, no artificial colours and flavourings and no chemical pesticides are used. Moreover, highly soluble mineral fertilisers are used. This also protects soils and waterways. In addition, animals raised in an organic production environment have larger stalls and more time outside. Consequently, organic products have become a significant and growing consumer segment: in 2021, customers across Germany spent almost six per cent more on organic food and drinks than in the previous year, with demand for organic meat rising by 20 per cent. The REWE Group is pursuing the strategic goal of expanding its more sustainable product range – organic products make an important contribution to this.
GRI FP2: Percentage of purchased volume which is verified as being in accordance with credible, internationally recognised responsible production standards.
The REWE Group is continuously working to expand the organic product ranges in its sales lines. In the Guideline on Organic Products adopted in 2014, the REWE Group formulated comprehensive requirements for its organic private labels for suppliers and farms which, in many cases, exceed the legal standard of the EU eco regulations. All organic products of the REWE Group are certified by the ecological inspection board ABCert AG, which is shown by the inspection board code DE-ÖKO-006.
Furthermore, the REWE Group joined the project “Gemeinsam Boden gut machen” (improving soil health together) as a partner in 2021. It supports farmers who want to convert their farm to organic operations or expand existing ones. Therefore, the REWE Group is helping to improve waterways and soils and protect biodiversity. This also increases the offering of organic food produced in Germany. This is important as the production of organic food in Germany does not currently meet the high demand.
Locality officers were introduced to the regions during the financial year specifically for the REWE sales line. Their role is to increase the proportion of local organic producers in the markets and serve the organic farmers and producers in the region as contact partners.
The various organic product ranges in the sales lines of the REWE Group have developed positively during the reporting period. This can also be observed for organic farming throughout Germany: for example, sales from organic food in this country rose by around nine per cent in 2021 alone.
Organic brands at the REWE Group
In order to place organic products on the market and steadily expand the product range, the REWE Group offers organic private labels in its individual sales lines:
REWE private labels with organic quality
The quality standards of many products from REWE Bio, the REWE private label for organic products, go beyond the legal EU requirements. For example, the significantly stricter criteria of the organic farming association Naturland are already applied to 337organic products in the REWE sales line and these products therefore bear the Naturland seal. In addition, the entire REWE organic product range has been continuously expanded since 2013. During the reporting period there were over 750 REWE organic products in the product range (average over the course of the year). This gives a share of REWE organic products in the sales value of REWE private labels of around 19 per cent in the financial year. 2021 also saw the arrival of the private label REWE Bio + vegan with around 30 vegan organic alternative products so far. The products are vegan, organic-certified and bear the PRO PLANET label “Für mehr Klimaschutz” (For more climate protection).
In order to increase sales value further and make its customers more aware of organic products, REWE launched the campaign “Mehr Bio für dich, besser für alle” (More organic food for you is better for everyone) in 2020. Through specific REWE organic products which bear the Naturland seal and have the associated added value – from the avoidance of artificial flavours and better husbandry conditions for greater animal welfare through to social standards – the sales line is demonstrating why organic products are better for consumers, animals, the environment and people in this regard. When it comes to organic fruit and vegetables, REWE is also trying to reduce packaging. Since 2020, it has been offering more and more products either without packaging, without plastic as far as possible or with improved packaging (also see Packaging).
A strong partner for over a decade: Naturland
Since 2009, the REWE sales line has maintained a close partnership with Naturland, one of the largest international organic associations, to increase organic farming and make organic products accessible to a wider market. With some 140,000 farmers, beekeepers and fish producers in 60 countries, Naturland is pursuing the goal of making sustainability in farming and the food industry a reality as producers of genuine organic products of quality. Naturland rules go beyond the legal requirements of the EU organic farming regulation in that they cover many more areas and therefore contribute, amongst other things, to the protection of resources, biodiversity and greater animal welfare. Naturland also checks products against social criteria and campaigns for better working conditions in risk countries – especially when it comes to import products such as coconut milk, sugar, cocoa, tea, coffee, spices and honey. In 2021, the number of Naturland goods in the REWE product range increased to 337 products – from trend and vegan products such as pasta made from peas, various coconut products and soy drinks through to a selection of dairy products. Together with Naturland, REWE Bio can offer an ever-expanding product range – with a clear focus on regional and also international variety.
Working together for organic farming: Demeter
In order to promote organic farming throughout Germany and support agricultural structures in the region, the REWE sales line joined the organic association Demeter in September 2020. Demeter producers and manufacturers operate according to the biodynamic method and in compliance with guidelines which go far beyond the requirements of the EU eco regulation. Across Germany, REWE is offering more and more products in its stores which have been awarded the organic seal of Demeter and therefore meet the association's strict quality criteria – there are currently 1,772 different products.
Naturgut: Organic products at PENNY
PENNY has been offering the brand Naturgut since 2014. Since 2019, Naturgut has been focused exclusively on organic products. Depending on the promotional period, PENNY had over 200 Naturgut products in its product range in 2021. The share of Naturgut products in the sales value of private labels is seven per cent, which represents a slight increase. In 2020, PENNY relaunched the Naturgut packaging in order to further increase the signal effect of organic products. Green price labels are also being introduced to stores in order to make organic products visible at first sight. Naturgut is also the first brand at PENNY to show the Nutri-Score on the respective products. The score indicates the nutritional quality of a product on a five-level scale (for more information, see Nutrition).
In addition, the brand Naturgut Bio-Helden stands for organic fruit and vegetables that have minor flaws in their shape or skin. Such problems are more common with organic products but they do not reduce the quality of the products in any way. Through this brand, PENNY has been campaigning against food wastage in the upstream product stage since 2016. Depending on the season, PENNY has 20-25 organic fruit and vegetable products in the product range on average.
Incentive for organic farming
In order to be able to meet the rising demand for organic products, more producers in organic farming are required. This is why PENNY launched the Naturgut Junior-Helden (Junior Heroes) in 2018. These are “in-conversion products” from producers who, due to the statutory transition period of one to three years (depending on the fruit or vegetable crop), do not yet have official organic certification, but already produce organically with the associated higher costs. With Naturgut Junior-Helden, PENNY is providing these producers with a new marketing opportunity: they receive more revenue than for conventional products, but slightly less than the organic price. This discount is passed on fully to the customers, and is communicated on the label. This gives farmers a greater incentive to switch to organic farming. In this way, PENNY is securing organic fruit and vegetables from Germany and Europe over the long term, because the products receive the German organic farming label after the transition period. PENNY is also actively campaigning for the introduction of a transition seal at European level.
Development of organic products in Germany (shares in per cent)
(percentage of net sales value of organic private labels and manufacturer brands in the net sales value of private labels and manufacturer brands at REWE and PENNY in Germany)
|Organic private labels*
(percentage of net sales value of organic private labels at REWE and PENNY in Germany in the net sales value of private labels)
(percentage of net sales value of “REWE Bio” in the net sales value of private labels at REWE)
(percentage of net sales value of “Naturgut” in the net sales value of private labels at PENNY)
toom Baumarkt DIY stores: Organic products for the kitchen garden
toom Baumarkt DIY stores have been selling organic-certified private label products for kitchen gardens since 2014. These products include peat-free soils certified by the Bio-Grünstempel® (Organic Green Seal), organic fertiliser, organic herbs and organic vegetables. toom also started offering local fruit shrubs and fruit trees exclusively in organic quality in 2018. In 2021, this offering included over 628 plant products.
Organic in Austria
With the creation of Ja! Natürlich in 1994, BILLA was a pioneer of organic farming in Austria. The product range now includes 1,100 different organic products which are offered on the shelves of BILLA, BILLA PLUS, ADEG and Sutterlüty. PENNY Austria sells its organic products under the private label Echt B!O.
Development of organic products in Austria (shares in per cent)
(in gross sales value of full product range2 in Austria)
(in gross sales value of PENNY Austria)
Further sales lines with organic product ranges
Organic product ranges are also found in the sales lines of the convenience sector such as Lekkerland or REWE To Go – in this case, for example, only organic coffee is served. The FÜR SIE trade group, the online wine distributor Weinkeller and the online shop for pet food and supplies ZooRoyal also include organic product ranges. The combine's production operation Glocken Bäckerei also offers an organic product range.