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Greenpeace Market Check: Organic herbal and fruit teas in Austrian supermarkets

by Katrin Muhl (comments: 0)

Different organic teas in a basket © Greenpeace
72 herbal and fruit teas or blends thereof were available at the supermarkets assessed by Greenpeace, many of them organic. © Greenpeace

The environmental protection organization Greenpeace took a close look at the tea assortment of supermarkets in Austria. The evaluation revealed a surprisingly high proportion of organic products.

The Greenpeace Market Check took a look at the range of herbal and fruit teas available in Austria's largest supermarkets during the cold season. It was assessed and compared how many of these were available in organic quality in the individual retail stores. For ten tea varieties, further criteria were evaluated (see blow "evaluation criteria").

On average, 72 herbal and fruit teas or their blends were available at the supermarkets evaluated, Greenpeace reports. 48 per cent of them were produced according to organic guidelines, it said. "We were particularly surprised by the high organic content on the tea shelves. Almost half of all herbal and fruit teas in the supermarkets are fortunately of organic quality," reports Lisa Panhuber, consumer expert at Greenpeace Austria.

Supermarkets ranking

Interspar takes first place and receives a rating of "very good" from Greenpeace. Further results: see infographic.

Greenpeace sees room for improvement in the origin of ingredients. "In only 21 per cent of the products do the main ingredients come from Austria," the organization complains. According to information provided by supermarkets to Greenpeace, about ten per cent of the ingredients come from the European Union. 23 per cent originated outside the EU.

Even in the case of products that refer to regionality on their packaging by using red-white-red designs, the raw materials often come from abroad, Panhuber reports. In the case of 46 per cent of the products, Greenpeace received no information on the origin. "From which countries the ingredients for our teas come is often a mystery," says Panhuber.

Greenpeace is appealing to the Austrian federal government to ensure greater transparency in origin labeling. A corresponding legal regulation has been in force since April 1, 2020. According to the organization, however, this has little effect due to many exceptions. It is therefore calling for mandatory labeling of the origin of food. "From the consumer's point of view, there needs to be more clarity in labeling. Currently, you often have no chance to see where the ingredients come from when you go shopping," says Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace Market Check has been scrutinizing Austrian supermarkets since October 2015. According to information on the website, both the sustainability of the products and the eco-balance of the markets and retail companies are examined.


Evaluation criteria

a) Proportion of organic products in the total offer of herbal and fruit teas

b) Shopping cart with ten products:

  • Availability in organic quality
  • Origin of the main ingredients
  • Labeling of the origin of the main ingredients on the product
  • Availability as loose tea

The shopping cart of ten products contained teas that are available in at least 80 percent of all stores, according to Greenpeace Market Check:

  • Chamomile tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Herbal mixture without fruits
  • Herbal mixture without or with fruits, herbs predominate
  • Herbal mixture without or with fruits, herbs predominate
  • Fruit tea
  • Fruit tea without or with herbs, fruits predominate
  • Fruit tea without or with herbs, fruits predominate
  • Ginger tea


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