Bulk sales obligation: supermarkets are starting to get down to it


By 2030, businesses over 400 square meters will have to offer 20% bulk sales. This obligation, provided for in the Climate and Resilience bill, is ambitious but not impractical.

The booming bulk market

The Climate and Resilience bill provides that by 2030, businesses of over 400 square meters will have to have bulk sales space equivalent to 20% of the total surface area. An initiative to promote bulk sales which generates less packaging than traditional sales. While the goal is not unrealizable for supermarkets, it is nonetheless very ambitious.

Célia Rennesson, president of Réseau Vrac, which brings together all the players in the bulk sector, reports on Parisian the current market record. Thus, in 2021, the bulk sale ” represents between 2 to 8 square meters for a supermarket, and 5 to 11 square meters for a hypermarket “. To meet the objectives, supermarkets will have to at least double the area allocated to bulk sales.

The bulk sales market is booming, it now represents 1.3 billion euros but suffered from a brake during the health crisis. The government then made the decision to close the bulk sales spaces, slowing the growth of the market. In 2020, the growth of the bulk sector was 8% compared to 40% in 2019. However, despite the closure during the first lockdown, the sector remains growing and is expected to reach 3.2 billion euros next year.

The complexity of setting up bulk sales

While the bulk sales sector is proving to be promising, it represents an organizational challenge for supermarkets. The bulk sales department requires specific maintenance that is heavier than traditional shelves. The cleaning of dispensers and their filling require a larger workforce.

There is also the question of the profitability of such equipment. The maintenance is more expensive than for traditional shelves and the losses are greater there, since people can make mistakes, eat them or drop them more easily. These losses are two to three times greater than for packaged products.

Thus, Célia Rennesson believes that this obligation is complex but not necessarily impossible if we play on the definition of bulk : ” If it concerns all products sold without packaging, whether fruit and vegetables but also for example cut products (cheese dairy, caterer, etc.) for which we can use our own containers, this objective of 20% is realistic. Otherwise, it will be complicated “.