Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos: Ahold Delhaize Ramps Up Sustainability Targets

Ahold Delhaize has taken the wraps off new long-term targets for its Healthy and Sustainable growth-driving initiative. As it moves into the last year of fulfilling its 2020 sustainability targets, the retail conglomerate has established a fresh set of goals, particularly in regard to its own-brand products, to encourage customers to make healthier and better-informed choices, to boost product transparency and to eliminate waste.

“Food-related diseases and the impact of climate change are affecting billions of people, including those in our communities and our business,” noted Frans Muller, president and CEO of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize. “That is why we need to accelerate in the areas where we can create the most value. As an international food retailer, we are in a great position to help tackle these global issues together, with our customers and with our partners in the industry and across the supply chain, to create a healthier and more resilient food system. I am convinced that this will make our business stronger and more robust for the future.”

The goals consist of the following:
  • Healthier Choices: After comparing all own-brand products against science-based nutritional navigation systems, Ahold Delhaize’s divisions will aim to further increase sales of healthy own-brand products to more than half of total own-brand food sales, with a target of 51% by 2022. To reach this goal, the divisions will continue their commitment to reformulate products and make it easier for customers to meet their own personal health needs. By 2025, all Ahold Delhaize divisions will provide science-based nutritional navigation systems for customers, including Nutri-Score and Guiding Stars, in stores and online.
  • Product Transparency: To further help customers make choices that fit their needs, tastes and values, the company will provide even more information about where own-brand products are sourced, which production methods are used and under which conditions they are produced. Building on the company’s nearly 100% visibility and sustainability in its own-brand seafood supply chains, Ahold Delhaize will apply lessons learned to its fresh fruit, vegetable and meat supply chains.
  • Eliminating Waste: The company’s divisions will continue reducing food waste from operations, halving it by 2030, in line with the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. This will require balancing the reduction of food waste with Ahold Delhaize’s goal to grow sales of fresh and healthy products. To achieve this target, the divisions will use more effective replenishment systems, leverage innovative methods like dynamic pricing based on sell-by date, and further expand partnerships to repurpose unsold but safe food to alleviate food insecurity. Additionally, as a founding member of the 10x20x30 food waste initiative, Ahold Delhaize is teaming with 20 key suppliers to reduce food waste throughout its supply chains.

The company’s divisions are working toward zero plastic waste from own-brand packaging by 2025 through packaging reduction and a transition to fully recyclable, reusable or compostable plastics. Moreover, 25% of its own-brand plastic packaging will be from recycled materials by 2025.

Ahold Delhaize has also committed to setting long-term, science-based targets as of February 2021 to lower its impact on climate change. On human rights, the company has already begun conducting due diligence, following the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to ensure that its brands, businesses and supply chains protect the rights of customers, associates and community members. According to Ahold Delhaize, its brands are increasing standards for the sustainability of their products while maintaining best-in-class standards for food safety and quality. Finally, as part of the company’s Healthy and Sustainable initiative, it continues to focus on improving workplace safety.

The grocer will release additional updates on its Healthy and Sustainable progress in its annual report and on the retailer’s website.

The retail conglomerate’s American business, Ahold Delhaize USA is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. divisions, consisting of Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, as well as e-grocer Peapod; Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands; and Peapod Digital Labs, its ecommerce engine. Operating more than 2,000 stores across 23 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 4 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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