Which supermarkets in Switzerland have the cheapest organic products?

Which supermarkets in Switzerland have the cheapest organic products?

With Switzerland known to favour organic products more than any other country on Earth, residents may be wondering which Swiss supermarket they should visit to get the best deals. Luckily, a new study from the University of Applied Sciences of North-West Switzerland (FHNW) has the answer!

Organic produce less attractive amid cost of living crisis

According to the latest data from Statista, Switzerland has the highest per capita consumption of organic foods of any country in the world. Organic foods are products that are grown, reared and / or cultivated without the use of synthetic chemicals such as GMOs, human-made pesticides and fertilisers. 

In 2022, the average resident of the alpine nation spent the equivalent of 437 euros on bio and organic produce, far higher than Denmark in second place with 365 euros per capita.

However, there are signs that the enthusiasm for organic products is waning in Switzerland. Speaking to SonntagsZeitung Mathias Binswanger of FHNW noted that many within the industry have noticed sales decline across Swiss cities and cantons. He explained that amid the ongoing cost of living crisis, “Perhaps organic [sales] are stagnating because it is too expensive for many people.”

Swiss supermarkets accused of excessive markups on bio foods

Binswanger argued that one of the reasons for people’s hesitation in purchasing organic food is the excessive markup placed on them compared to non-organic products. Indeed, in October 2023, a FHNW report found that people in Switzerland pay over 100 million francs a year too much for bio products, mainly due to surcharges placed on them by Coop and Migros. 

This year, Binswanger noted that while major distributors and wholesalers have cut prices for organic products, prices on the shelves have remained the same and have even increased in some cases. 

German discounters offer the cheapest organic products

When it comes to which supermarket in Switzerland had the cheapest organic products, the FHNW report found that prices at Aldi and Lidl are significantly cheaper than the traditional Swiss supermarkets Coop and Migros. For instance, Swiss organic milk, yoghurt, eggs and flour were all cheaper in the German discounters than in the traditional supermarkets.

The most striking difference was found in organic meat, especially beef. The report noted that on average bio beef burgers cost 65,75 francs per kilo in Coop and Migros, compared to 49,90 francs per kilo at Aldi and Lidl.

Coop and Migros struggle to compete with Lidl and Aldi on price

As Swiss farmers do not receive a lower price for organic produce if they sell to Aldi or Lidl, the report used other factors to explain the price markup. The first is that the size of Lidl and Aldi compared to Coop and Migros allows them to secure far cheaper wholesale prices outside of Switzerland.

The two international companies' products are also not licenced by Bio Suisse, which charges a 0,9 percent markup on products that use the Bio Suisse bug on their packaging. This is despite many Aldi and Lidl organic products coming from Bio Suisse licenced farms. 

Wider selection and Swiss supermarkets forcing prices up

Speaking to SonntagsZeitung, Migros spokesperson Marcel Schlatter argued that both Bio Suisse and the availability of organic products in their stores are the main drivers of higher prices. Coop and Migros sell thousands of organic products, compared to approximately 350 at Lidl and 300 at Aldi - only a third of which come from Switzerland. 

Experts noted that this allows the German discounters to be more efficient in offering and pricing organic goods. At the same time, Schlatter added that because most of their organic products can be bought at the majority of Migros stores, prices have to be higher in order to maintain supply.

Coop and Migros are cheaper when goods are discounted

Finally, experts noted that while standard prices may be higher at Migros and Coop, they are far more likely to discount their organic products - according to a survey from Nielsen, Swiss people buy half of their meat when it is on discount. “If you buy organic beef at Migros at a promotional price, you may pay the same or less than at Lidl or Aldi,” Swiss Meat Association (Proviande) director Heinrich Bucher told SonntagsZeitung.

Thumb image credit: Sorbis /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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