Belgian supermarkets are still not doing enough for the environment and climate: they shift most of the responsibility to their consumers. Delhaize and Lidl emerge as frontrunners, but the differences between the chains are small.
No measurable objectives
Are supermarkets in Belgium making sufficient efforts to promote plant-based and sustainably produced food, and to combat deforestation and food waste? Think tank Questionmark audited Colruyt, Delhaize, Carrefour, Aldi and Lidl, who have a combined market share of 80 % in Belgium. The study, called Superlist Environment Belgium, looked at the chains’ product range, shop environment, promotions and policy. Its overall conclusion is clear: supermarkets are missing opportunities.
Supermarket chains do not sufficiently encourage their customers are to eat more plant-based foods: two out of three ready-made meals contain meat or fish, barely 4 % are plant-based. Meat and fish take all the spotlights in supermarket flyers, with large meat portions being the standard. Consumers have to actively look for sustainable products in the range – if there are any, at all. At Aldi and Lidl, no sustainable options are available in half of the product groups surveyed. There are hardly any action plans to reduce deforestation. Food waste and food loss are on the radar, but measurable targets and reporting are lacking. Only Delhaize has published an action plan.
Lidl and Delhaize emerge as overall frontrunners, but the differences between supermarkets are small and each chain places different focuses. In the transition to less meat and more vegetable, Delhaize is doing better than Lidl, Aldi and Carrefour. Delhaize is also a step ahead in policy against food waste, but it seriously lags behind in actions for sustainable agriculture and against deforestation. In this area, Carrefour, Aldi and especially Lidl are ahead in Belgium. Colruyt is in the middle for each subject. In absolute terms, every supermarket still has a lot of room for improvement.
You can find the full survey here.
(Protein transition – Sustainable agriculture – Food waste)