Colruyt Group receives encouraging conclusions on its initial report on the use of antibiotics in pig farming

Halle, Belgium, 2017-Jul-04 — /EPR Retail News/ — Colruyt Group has received its first complete report from the AB Register, the platform developed by non-profit association Belpork to set up a policy for more sustainable use of antibiotics in pig farming. The conclusions are most encouraging, both for data reporting and quantitative and qualitative analysis of antibiotic use in herds participating in the Colruyt quality system. Use of significantly lower than average doses of active substances has been noticed in particular. In 2015, Colruyt Group decided to include the AMCRA* recommendations in its specifications, with the aim of reducing antibiotic consumption in pig farming by 2020. At the same time, the group joined the AB Register, in order to raise farmers’ awareness and have a continuous control and monitoring of their consumption. Due to this commitment, the group is working, together with its suppliers, towards a sensible use of antibiotics.

The AB register

Developed on the initiative of Belpork, the “AB Register” wants to identify the use of antibiotics in Belgian pig farms affiliated to recognised quality systems (Certus, CodiplanPlus, Colruyt) in order to achieve a sustainable policy on antibiotics. For the scientific analysis of the register’s data, Belpork called in AMCRA*, the knowledge centre for everything concerning antibiotics use and bacteria resistance in animals.  The recording and individual reporting on use of antibiotics is a measure aimed at raising the producers’ awareness. By joining this register, the latter benefit from follow-up and guidance in regard to their antibiotic consumption.

Encouraging results

Since Colruyt joined the AB Register in September 2015, the number of herds participating in the Colruyt quality system increased from 227 to 238 on 1st January 2017. 74% of these fulfilled the criteria enabling them to be taken into account in the assessment and analysis.

From a quantitative point of view, the report highlights the good behaviour of our suppliers’ farms, with an on average lower use of antibiotics than other farmers belonging to the register. There is a significant difference mainly in suckling piglets, as well as pigs for fattening.

From a qualitative point of view, it is also apparent that 3rd and 4th generation antibiotics, which are the most critical in combatting antibio-resistance in humans, have dropped considerably compared to 2015, currently reported as 0.9% treatment days, compared to 2% for herds which are not Colruyt affiliated. More generally, an overall decrease has been noted in the use of active substances belonging to “red” products in the AMCRA** classification.

Professor Jeroen Dewulf, chairman of AMCRA, calls the results encouraging. “It is good that companies like Colruyt Group take the lead and work together with their suppliers to reduce use of antibiotics and contribute to achieving AMCRA’s objectives.”

Evolving specifications

This is not the first time that Colruyt Group is taking action on the use of antibiotics in pig farming. In 1999, the group included, in its specification, banning the use of antibiotics as a preventive measure or to boost growth. A measure voted in by the European Union in 2006. Even today, the group has no reservations on going beyond legal requirements by extending the time between the end of a treatment and slaughtering the animal in order to ensure no significant quantities of residue remain in the animal’s flesh.

Stefan Goethaert, manager Colruyt Group Fine Food, the group’s production department: “We can be nothing but delighted with this report which shows that our supplier partners are right behind us in our sustainability goals. Combating over-use of antibiotics is a public health issue in which, through our specifications, we have a role to play. There is still work to be done and improvements to be made, in particular in data reporting. But we are on the right track. ”

* AMCRA: Antimicrobial Consumption and Resistance in Animals

** Antibiotic Classification
AMCRA has set up a colour code, according to the substances’ impact on human health. The yellow products are the least harmful in regard to public health; orange products can only be administered after a diagnosis, while red products may only be used after a laboratory test showing that the yellow and orange substances have no effect on the bacteria concerned.


Silja Decock
Press Officer Colruyt Group
Tel.: +32 (0)473 92 45 10 or +32 (0)2 363 55 45

Source: Colruyt Group

Colruyt Group contributes to public health by improving the nutritional value of its house brands

Halle, Belgium, 2016-Apr-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — For years, Colruyt Group has been improving the nutritional value of its house brands. Our in-house nutritionists check the nutritional value of each product and improve it wherever possible. In this, they focus on decreasing the amount of salt, added sugar, and saturated fats. Colruyt Group has raised its game in 2014, and 23 product categories have currently been checked. By striving for more balanced food, the group wants positively contribute to public health. The group therefore trusts that the initiative will be recognised by the federal government’s National Food and Health plan.

Health and well-being
The connection between our food and our health has been amply proven. Colruyt Group places a lot of importance on sustainability and is therefore working towards more balanced food in the interest of public health and the well-being of its customers. As the first Belgian retailer to structurally take on this responsibility, the group launched a programme in 2014 to improve the nutritional value of its house brands Everyday, Boni Selection, and Boni Bio, all while maintaining the same flavour. Director Stefan Goethaert, responsible for product sustainability at Colruyt Group, adds: “We’ve always been attentive to the quality and composition of our own brands, and this project was accelerated in 2014. Today, on World Health Day, we’d like to give an update on this.”

Less salt and sugar and fewer saturated fats
“Our nutritionists will screen all our food products”, Stefan Goethaert explains. “Wherever necessary and possible, we will systematically improve the nutritional values, for instance by decreasing the amount of sugar and salt or by adding fibres.  We also decrease fat content or replace the saturated fats with better types of fat that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. And we will increase the amount of vegetables in our ready-made meals.”

Twenty-three categories in two years
Colruyt Group has access to an in-house crew of nutritionists who support the people responsible for quality. Since the programme started, they have screened 23 product categories. Approximately 250 products went through an improvement track, in close collaboration with the manufacturers. Right now, there are approximately one hundred improved products available in stores, including great results such as Boni Selection’s Provençal sauce which contains 94% less fat, EveryDay strawberry drink yoghurt (6.5% less sugar) and Boni Selection Rolled Fillet with Onion sauce (47% less salt).  The operation will be continued with the rest of the product range and the nutritional value of all future products will of course be thoroughly reviewed.

And then there is the taste
However, the improvements have their boundaries, as salt, sugar, and fat are often not just additives but structural ingredients. In pastry, for example, you cannot decrease the amount of sugar below a certain level without endangering the product’s consistency. Salt, sugar, and fat also serve as preservatives, in for example cold meats and jams. And the fewer preservatives, the shorter the shelf life a product has. Then there are the legal duties, for instance for mayonnaise, the composition of which has been determined by law. And, regardless of these limitations, the customer also has to be able to enjoy the products whose recipe has been changed. That is why the new recipes are systematically subjected to blind taste and satisfaction tests.

Health tax as a stimulant to food improvement
In the context of the National Food and Health Plan, the government is setting up several measures to decrease the amounts of sugar and fats in our food. This mainly concerns fiscal intervention, such as the sugar tax on soft drinks, implemented in 2015. “We suggest that the government uses the health tax to stimulate the food manufacturers to improve the nutritional value of their products”, says Frans Colruyt, chief operating officer at Colruyt Group. “The manufacturers could commit to an improvement plan in agreement with the government. If they meet their predetermined targets, they could potentially enjoy a tax reduction. That way, the health tax would truly contribute to the improvement of our food.”

More information at:

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

Colruyt Group grants its pig farmers with support bonus of 10 cents per kilo

Halle, Belgium, 2015-12-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Colruyt Group has decided to support the pork industry by granting its pig farmers with a support bonus of 10 cents per kilo. The group is looking to use this action to help its long-term partners scrape a living. This is also a way of contributing to the prosperity of local producers and of continuing to provide its customers with high-quality Belgian pork. In parallel, Colruyt Group is continuing to be actively involved in discussions with the different stakeholders in the chain as part of the Chain Consultation, but reaching an agreement in this consultation remains difficult. We hope the dialogue is pursued and Colruyt wants to continue to participate actively.

10 cents per kilo

Colruyt Group is aware of the difficulties that farmers have now been facing for several months. In concrete terms, the group will pay a support bonus of 10 cents for each kilo of pork, which will be retroceded to the farmers. This initiative concerns all pork received by the group, regardless of the form in which it is subsequently distributed (fresh meat, cured meat, by-products). This measure will be applied for a period of 8 weeks.

Stefan Goethaert, Colruyt Group Fine Food Director: “We understand the difficult situation that Belgian pork farmers have been facing over the last few months. Moreover, we attach a lot of importance to seeing Belgian producers continue to provide us with pork. This measure will directly benefit pig farmers that supply us with pork in line with our specifications. We hope our support can breathe new life in the dialogue within the chain consultation so that the search for structural solutions can be pursued. After these 2 months, we will reassess the situation.”

Reminder: last year, Colruyt Group also assisted farmers by freezing the price of pork for 6 weeks, at a time when market prices were crashing.

Colruyt Group however remains convinced that the solutions required by our Belgian producers can only emerge from the consultation with all stakeholders in the industry and with the Belgian and European bodies. The impact of Belgian retail in an international context is rather limited . The Belgian distribution only buys 6.8 % of the total home pork production and cannot possibly aid the entire market, let alone the export. Colruyt Group will however do everything in its power to ensure that these discussions result in structural and stabilising measures offering a future perspective for all stakeholders.

Jan Derom
+32 (0)2 363 55 45
+32 (0)473 92 45 10

SOURCE: Colruyt Group