Colruyt subsidiary Bio-Planet expands the share of Belgian products in its organic range, featuring four products based on locally grown soy.
The new products are 100 % plant-based, have earned Nutri-Score A and feature a surprising taste combination of sea weed and sesame. Contrary to the soy burgers that are already available, they contain whole soy beans - giving them a more interesting texture and the added bonus of consumer awareness that these are premium soy products. Sometimes the use of soy as an ingredient is challenged, but it is a fact that they contain a lot of necessary components.
The Belgian Colruyt Group is looking to make its private labels more sustainable and sees a growing demand for organic products and meat replacements. To decrease the dependence of imports from Canada, France, Italy and Eastern Europe, the company led a trial project to grow soy in Belgium. Simon Colembie started last year with a hectare (2.5 acres) of soy, resulting in the first 2.5 tonnes of soy beans. La Vie Est Belle processed them into two soy burgers and two soy spreads that are sold at Colruyt's organic chain.
The first sales figures are very promising: 2,000 customers already bought the new soy products and a significant number of sales are returning sales. Such is the popularity that one of the burgers will make it into Colruyt's eponymous discount chain. The two spreads will also be made available in convenience store chain OKay. It remains to be seen how big a success this move will be: 50 % of Bio-Planet customers buy meat replacements, compared to 'only' 15 % in its sibling chains.
On the other hand, the group as a whole does notice an accelerated growth in the sale of organic products: while last year turnover grew by 3 %, in the last quarter that figure has more than doubled to 7 %.
Bio-planet itself aims to make sure one of each three products is from Belgian origin and one of each four is from local producers - meaning that 1,500 products come from producers that are situated no more than 20 km from the store.