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Colruyt Group expands collaboration with the Food Banks

Halle, Belgium, 2016-Jun-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — Due to positive results from a first test in four Walloon branches, Colruyt Group is expanding their collaboration with the Food Banks. Both parties have a unique system set up in Belgium: fifteen Colruyt stores in Belgium, spread out in accordance to need, will make their unsold foodstuffs available to local organisations associated with the Food Banks. This will add up to approximately 450 tonnes of food to be distributed. Within the year, both parties will evaluate to see if the supply matches the demand, and make adjustments where necessary. Colruyt Group has been collaborating with the Food Banks since 1997; they donate unsold foodstuffs from the distribution centre Dassenveld (Halle) and organise a yearly food drive among their customers. The three collection systems will continue to exist simultaneously.

Matching supply to demand

Specifically, Colruyt Group and the Food Banks have identified 15 Belgian stores that are best suited to meet the demands, based on their geographical location and the needs of the local organisations. The Food Banks will serve as intermediary between the stores and these organisations, and they will organise the collection process. They will also oversee the different organisations and keep an eye on proper observance of the cold chain, compliance with the rules as set by the FASFC, and the actual distribution of the foodstuffs to the less fortunate. The stores involved will sort and collect these products early in the morning. The packages will be prepared and stored in a refrigerator and will be normally be picked up by the organisation at the time of the store opening, every weekday, including Saturday. Last year, Colruyt Group and the Food Banks performed a first test in four stores in Walloon. Between 2 and 3 tonnes of food per store per month were donated to the food banks because of this.

In addition, Colruyt Group will devote special attention to the local organisations’ waste management in order to prevent downstream food waste.

Four days

Colruyt Group will also ensure the quality of the foodstuffs. The company has great expertise in the area of inventory management, thanks to an automated supply system that enables us to sell 97.45% of the fresh and frozen products that have been shipped to stores. With a view to decreasing customers’ food waste, fresh products are removed from the shelves four days before their expiry date, in all stores. This means the organisations will get products that are well before their expiry date. This system will also enable us to expand our donations to fruit and vegetables that are still edible, but not aesthetically pleasing enough to offer to customers, or that have damaged packaging. Alfons De Vadder, delegate director for the Federation of Food Banks: “Our continuing concern is not just to collect enough food to meet the ever-increasing demand, but also to ensure a product supply that is as varied as possible. This means we’re looking forward to collaborating with Colruyt Group for several reasons.”

Social involvement

The collaboration with the Food Banks is nothing new. Colruyt Group has been donating unsold foodstuffs that were still legally sellable to the Food Banks since 1997. These foodstuffs are brought to the Dassenveld Distribution Centre in Halle. After quality control, they are picked up by the Food Banks and distributed to social restaurants, shelters, and other social initiatives. The Food Banks received an estimated 405 tonnes of food this way in 2015.

Colruyt Group is also eager to involve their customers in the movement. Each year, Colruyt gives them the opportunity to contribute to the Food Banks with a food drive. This year, the campaign collected 229 tonnes of food for the Food Banks.

It is important to note that the three collection systems will continue simultaneously. The distribution directly from the 15 stores to local associations should guarantee them 450 tonnes of food products.

“We at Colruyt Group feel it is our duty to combat food waste, which causes so much unnecessary loss both financially and environmentally, as much as possible,” says Tony De Bock, director of Know-how – Products – Retail at Colruyt Group. “For that, we need effective logistics and inventory management, proper redistribution of the unsold foodstuffs, as well as social commitment. This allows us to prove that our economic ambitions positively impact society and the environment. That is our vision for sustainable entrepreneurship.”

Hanne Poppe
+32 (0)2 363 55 45
+32 (0)473 92 45 10

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