The Eco-score makes eco-friendly choices easier
We are all trying to lead more sustainable and conscious lives, step by step. Also when it comes to food. When you put sandwich fillings in your shopping trolley, you not only want excellent taste, you also want the smallest possible ecological footprint. Is it best to take young Gouda cheese or chicken breast? And do you prefer coffee or milk as a drink? The Eco-score makes it a lot easier to choose eco-friendly products. It allows you to make the right choices, in no time, for the environment, and therefore for all of us.
What is the Eco-score?
The Eco-score is – like the Nutri-Score – a guide to choosing food products. With letter and colour codes from A (green, low impact) to E (red, high impact), it summarises the ecological impact throughout the life cycle of a product. It also takes into account extra efforts for our planet, such as the use of recyclable packaging.
Why an ecological label?
Food has a significant impact on the environment. By summarising this in one symbol, you can immediately see which products are advisable and which you should better limit in order to keep your ecological impact as low as possible. This makes it easier for you to make a conscious choice, and to significantly reduce the pressure on the environment
Where can you find the Eco-score?
You can find the Eco-score of many private label food products of Boni, Boni Bio, Spar, Graindor and Colruyt Lowest Prices on the price label at Colruyt and Bio-Planet. In our other stores, you can easily discover the Eco-score in the Xtra app. Scan the bar code of your product by means of the 'Productinfo' option. The score can also be found in the MyColruyt and SmartWithFood app, on the Bio-Planet and Colruyt websites and on a lot of packaging.
First we analyse the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. This results in a score out of 100, to which we assign plus and/or minus points based on extra indicators such as origin and packaging. Finally, we translate this final score into an Eco-score from A to E.
You can make a big difference for the environment with your weekly food choices. From choosing seasonal fruit and vegetables to cooking creatively with food leftovers. The following practical tips will help you reduce your ecological footprint in no time.
The Eco-score helps you to consume more sustainably. And the calculation also helps us, as a company. By mapping out the environmental impact of our private label products, we can see where we can do better and make improvements. Here are a few examples ...
Frequently asked questions
At Colruyt Group, we actively want to further reduce the environmental impact of our private label products. Together with our suppliers, we want to take the right actions that will have the greatest impact on the environment.
The method consists of various parameters such as the life cycle analysis and additional pluses and minuses. It will be further refined and adapted to the Belgian reality.
- The life cycle analysis was elaborated by several partners from France and works on the basis of average product scores. Not much will change about that.
- The possible additional pluses and minuses allow us to make interesting nuances at product level. We can refine that system, taking into account the reality and specificity of the Belgian market. We are looking to adjust the algorithms and are consulting with the French collective in this respect.
A life cycle analysis of a product takes into account the entire journey a product completes before it reaches you. At each stage – from raw materials and agriculture to sales and consumption – 16 different factors or 'impact categories' are evaluated. Climate change, water use, land use, particulate matter and acidification, etc.
5. Why does the Eco-score take into account additional criteria on top of the life cycle analysis? What are those criteria?
The Eco-score bonus-malus system includes some other aspects that are not considered by the generic life cycle analyses from the Agribalyse database. It assigns additional plus or minus points to the assessment of the environmental impact of a food product, and thus takes into account five additional criteria:
- How is the product produced?
- What is the origin of the ingredients in the product?
- What is the environmental policy of the producing country?
- What type of packaging does the product use? Is it recyclable?
- What impact does the product have on biodiversity?
Here you can read all about the bonus-malus criteria and how these are assessed.
Depending on the product type, transport has an effect of 5 to 30% on the final score. Agriculture, animal husbandry and processing usually have a greater impact. A product which comes from far away does not necessarily get a worse Eco-score than the local variant.
That is unlikely. The Eco-score and the Nutri-Score can easily be distinguished because of their different visual appearance. Due to the accessible design of both scores, the interpretation of both the nutritional values and the environmental impact of food products is quite straightforward. Effortlessly discover whether your products are healthy and ecologically sound, without having to decipher complicated texts and labels.
The Eco-score indicates the environmental impact of a food product. OEF stands for Organisation Environmental Footprint and is therefore about the ecological footprint of an organisation or company.
Colruyt Group has years of experience in calculating the ecological footprint of both its products and its organisation. For example, in cooperation with the European Commission, we actively monitored the development of the PEF standard (Product Environmental Footprint) and co-signed the OEF guidelines. We were one of the first to do this comprehensive exercise for our group. We calculated the environmental impact of our business activities in order to develop reduction strategies based on a baseline measurement.
Because the food sector has a significant impact on the environment. Before your food reaches your plate, it has to be produced, processed, packaged, transported, refrigerated, etc. This requires a lot of energy and raw materials. In total, about one third of all climate impact is caused by producing and eating food. It ranges from climate change and biodiversity loss to disruption of the nitrogen cycle. By choosing sustainable food, we increase the ecological carrying capacity of the earth and deplete the available raw materials less quickly.
Calculating and rolling out the Eco-score takes time. That is why we chose to determine them first for some 2,500 food products of our private labels Boni Selection (including Boni Bio), Spar, Graindor and Everyday. Meanwhile, you can now consult the Eco-score of national brand products on the websites of Colruyt, Bio-Planet and Collect&Go and in the Xtra-app. You can find the Nutri-Score on the packaging of Boni Selection products. We are gradually adding the scores of an increasing number of products.
No, not necessarily. Meat often has a greater CO2 impact than vegetable food because of the feed used in livestock farming, the agricultural area used, the excrement of ruminants, the use of pesticides, etc. But there are several criteria by which the Eco-score of meat products can be significantly improved. The type of meat or the production location, for example. Poultry has a lower impact than beef. And locally produced meat will usually score better than meat from far away regions. After all, local production earns extra bonus points. Of course, the life cycle analysis remains the decisive factor.