Unsold food: preferably to less fortunate people

97.38% of all fresh and frozen food in our stores is sold. But what about fruit and vegetables that remain on the shelves? We give them a useful destination as much as we can. Most of the unsold food is donated directly to social organisations. They distribute the products among less fortunate people.

1. How much food do we donate?

In 2018, we donated a record amount of unsold but still edible food to social organisations. This was about 3,273 tonnes, or 67% more than in 2017 and four times the amount donated in 2016.
This steep rise is because more and more stores donate their food surpluses directly to local social organisations. At the end of 2018, these organisations could pick up all unsold food in about one hundred Colruyt and Bio-Planet stores.
We can also donate more because our stores and distribution centres sort products better and can set aside a larger volume of edible products.

2. To whom do we donate?

  •  In 1997, we started to work with the Food Banks as a privileged partner. Every day, volunteers of the Food Banks distribute food to social restaurants, shelters and other social initiatives, which hand it out to people who can really use it.
  • Other organisations and logistic platforms we are working with are Foodsavers in Ghent and Les Restos Du Coeur all over Belgium.
The food banks have been a preferred partner for years.

3. What do we donate?

We donate unsold products such as:
  • fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh products the sell-by date of which will expire in 4 days
  • Slightly damaged packages
  • Wrong deliveries by suppliers
  • Remaining samples of our quality department.


4. How are donations from stores organised?

As efficiently as possible of course. Indeed, we try to restrict food losses as much as we can.

  • We remove unsold food from the shelves 4 days before their sell-by date to guarantee our customers sufficient freshness.
  • We check the goods and sort them so social organisations can easily pick them up.
  • The 4-day buffer gives our partner organisations enough time to distribute everything. Thanks to this approach, social organisations receive more fresh products such as fruit and vegetables than before.
An employee takes food from the shelves to donate.

5. Where can organisations pick up the products?

  • In our Colruyt stores. In 2015, we started a test in 3 stores. Early 2018, 50 stores already participated and by the end of that year, there were 70.
    We try to align supply and demand. We open stores for picking up food in regions where a lot of food is required and where local organisations have the logistics to pick up goods six days a week.

  • In all 29 Bio-Planet stores. Here, organisations do not have to commit to picking up goods every day.

  • In our distribution centres in Halle, Erpe-Mere and Zaventem.

The food bank comes to collect a donation of food at the Dassenveld distribution centre.

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

No proverty Zero hunger Responsible consumption & production