Direct collaboration with Belgian farmers
In recent years, we established a number of direct collaborations with Belgian farmers. In this way, we want to continue to invest in embedding and sourcing our agri-food products in Belgium. “Everyone benefits if we keep the chain as short as possible, from farm to fork: animals, farmers and consumers,” says Johan Pattyn, chairman of producer organisation Vlaams Hoeverund.
When establishing and developing partnerships, we always take into account the following agreements:
- We work with formal agreements and undertakings between the chain partners in question in terms of pricing, quality, volume and ambition with regard to sustainability.
- There is the willingness to learn together, to share knowledge, to innovate and to make adjustments. Thus, our collaboration is also a learning network.
- Regular consultation meetings are held on how the collaboration is going, how we evaluate it and how we see the future.
- We work together on efficiency in the chain: how can we cooperate as optimally and efficiently as possible from start to finish to achieve sustainable collaboration in the broadest sense.
A prime example? For some of the organic vegetables, Bio-Planet, Colruyt and Okay work together with De Lochting, a non-profit sheltered workshop and organic farm in Roeselare. Together, we have taken steps over the past two years to minimise food loss by better matching order and production volumes.
Correct price for growers of Magic Star and Coryphée apples
The Magic Star and the Coryphée apple were especially developed for Colruyt Group in cooperation with three Belgian fruit growers. Purpose of the collaboration: offer delicious local fruit, extend the Belgian apple season and highlight the expertise of fruit growers.
- Colruyt Group pays royalties to the fruit breeders for the exclusive use of the licence. Growers can rely on a sales guarantee and thus a correct price.
- Our growers apply the ‘low residue method’. The blossoms are protected against possible diseases according to conventional agriculture. As soon as the blossom is out, they switch to organic farming standards.
- Waste streams are limited by producing by-products , such as apple juice.
Innovative chain for Belgian organic wheat
Eleven Belgian partners - seven organic farmers, flour mill Molens van Oudenaarde, bakery Atelier du Pain, bakery De Trog and organic supermarket Bio-Planet - joined forces to grow high-quality organic wheat, that can be processed into 100% Belgian organic bread. The new chain ensures guaranteed sales for each of the stakeholders, and should also give a boost to the Belgian organic wheat sector and convince other organic farmers to choose high-quality organic wheat varieties.
At Colruyt Group, and certainly at organic supermarket Bio-Planet, we want to meet the increasing demand for organic bread with a Belgian offer as much as possible. This is why we are investing more and more on the local embedding of organic agriculture.
Stable milk price: income security for 330 dairy farmers
Since the beginning of April 2020, customers will find 13 dairy products of our Boni private label at Colruyt Lowest Prices, Okay and Spar Colruyt Group. Together with the consumer we make a valuable difference by doing this. 330 dairy farmers of dairy company Inex receive a stable price for 18% of their milk volume for five years. The annually indexed price offers dairy farmers greater income security in a market with huge price fluctuations and allows them to invest further in sustainable growth.
100% Belgian chain for high-quality organic pork
Since 2019, Colruyt and Bio-Planet offer 100% Belgian organic pork that comes from an exclusive partnership between organic pig breeders Biovar.be, Delavi and Colruyt Group. Together with BioVar.be we developed our own genetics which makes the organic pork very tender and juicy. This is our answer to growing consumer demands for high-quality and sustainably produced Belgian meat.
BioVar.be invested in brand new, modern stables and respects the strict criteria for organic farming in the field of animal welfare, housing, nutrition and health. Delavi coordinates the transport, slaughter and cutting. Our organic certified meat processing company Fine Food Meat handles the portioning, processing and packaging of the meat.
Direct collaboration with Belgian potato growers
We collaborate directly with a number of Belgian potato growers. This partnership offers multiple advantages for both the producer and the consumer:
- We reach quality agreements together and select the potato varieties that are best suited to the local soil types.
- Growers are paid fixed prices and are therefore less dependent on strongly fluctuating prices.
- We are able to prolong the Belgian potato season by one month.
Beef: partnership with 3 Belgian producer organisations
Colruyt Group works directly with 185 cattle breeders through three officially recognised Belgian producer organisations: Vlaams Hoeverund, En Direct De Mon Elevage and Les Saveurs d'Ardenne.
They are privileged suppliers of Colruyt Group and are specialised in the Belgian blue-white breed. Within this important Colruyt Group market segment, we reach transparent agreements about mutual expectations and how we work together:
- We offer them the guarantee to buy a fixed number of animals of a particular quality every week at a fair price. This gives cattle breeders more stability and financial security .
- The animals are born in the same farm where they remain throughout their lives, which benefits animal welfare .
- We demand that the cows graze in fields for at least half the year.
This dialogue also allows us to work together to make the whole chain more sustainable, from the cattle breeder to the consumer. This is how we meet consumers' growing demand for high-quality and sustainably produced beef.
of the beef at Colruyt came from 3 producer organisations with which we have worked since the beginning of 2022
Successful agricultural partnership in Limburg
A great example of constructive and sustainable partnerships between Colruyt Group and Belgian farmers is the one with the family-run company Odeurs. In Kerkom near Sint-Truiden, there is a succesful cooperation on innovative crops of the future, black beans in this case.