Stores selling organic produce are relatively commonplace these days, but they tend to be small outfits or expensive, or very frequently both.

Since March, however, food retail giant Carrefour has been experimenting with Bio, a format aimed at the more mass-market organic consumer.

Located on Paris’ Boulevard Diderot, just round the corner from the Gare de Lyon, this store is relatively small and, were it a workaday food shop, it would be viewed as convenience-sized. The shop wears its heart on its sleeve, though, and as an approach is made there is no mistaking its intent with the Carrefour logo accompanied by the word “Bio”.

Inside, the first thing that the visitor is likely to notice is a series of upturned metal pails that have been put to work as pendant lights over the fresh fruit and veg section just inside the entrance.

Carrefour plays the provenance card in the shop, with the country of origin appearing above each fresh item, and the majority of the produce comes from France.

As would be expected, there are organic products, ambient and fresh, throughout the shop. There are also graphics that inform shoppers about the nature of the offer. The most telling of these is the one that proclaims: “At last, organic products accessible for all and for all budgets.” That, perhaps, is the point of the store.

The Carrefour Bio proposition aims to put organic products within the reach of everybody, rather than the concerned middle-class environmentalist lobby. The store also happens to look pretty good - always a sound starting point for a
trial format.