Founded twenty years ago, Belgian organic supermarket chain Bio-Planet has already grown to 31 locations. Owner Colruyt Group wants to add another twenty, and sees opportunities in Wallonia - and Luxembourg.
Throughout its existence, competition for Bio-Planet has only become fiercer - both from normal supermarkets as from (online) niche players. An organic supermarket has to find a delicate balance to stay relevant, Business Unit Manager Jan Van Holsbeke told Trends: "A supermarket is a very accessible store, but in the mean time Bio-Planet also needs to be a pioneer in terms of new, surprising products. This combination is the reason of our existence."
The chain's 31 stores plus its webshop have realised a turnover of 156 million euros in 2020, but they suffered a loss of 5 million euros in the process. Van Holsbeke is not too disappointed, as his chain is "operationally profitable, while margins on store level are very healthy." Covid has taught people the importance of a good health, he notes, saying that the average purchase at Bio-Planet has gone up from some 45 to 70 euros.
He confirms his chain's earlier target of fifty stores in Belgium, hoping for an expansion in Wallonia. "People are more interested in organic produce there, possibly because of a tighter connection with agriculture." Afterwards, Bio-Planet will turn its visors on the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.