Beef from shorter chain
Steak, roast beef, stew, … Beef has to go a long way before it ends up on your plate. We are changing that now by buying directly from three Belgian producer organisations breeding the famous Belgian blue. This shorter chain with fewer links gives breeders more security and makes everything more transparent. And in the end, you can enjoy more sustainable meat of better quality.
Three producer organisations
Since April 2019, we are working directly with 3 officially recognised producer organisations, specialised in the Belgian blue breed: ‘Vlaams Hoeverund’, ‘En direct de mon élevage’ and ‘Les Saveurs d’Ardenne’. Every week, we buy a certain number of animals of a specific quality at a correct price. We also agree on the terms of delivery, including prices for transport, slaughtering and cutting in quarters by other parties. The cattle breeders take part in these negotiations, whereas supermarkets traditionally negotiate with intermediaries such as slaughterhouses and wholesalers.
With this direct collaboration, we create clear added value for the producer organisations. The guarantee of buying a certain number of animals results in more stability and financial security for the cattle breeders. Moreover, in a transparent, shorter chain, they get more out of it in the end. In this way, we want to support Belgian breeders of blue cattle and make sure their craftsmanship, often passed on from generation to generation, is maintained.
Shorter and more sustainable chain
By working directly with the producer organisations, we have more impact on the quality of the meat in our stores. We can exchange knowhow with the cattle breeders, between cattle breeders and with the academic world. This dialogue also enables us to make the whole chain more sustainable, from cattle breeder to consumer. A short chain with fewer links and clear agreements improves traceability and transparency in the sector. In this way, we also meet the growing consumer demand for qualitative meat produced in a sustainable way.
What about the ‘long’ chain?
This initiative is one of our endeavours to achieve more sustainable agriculture, as are the partnerships with Belgian potato farmers, pig breeders and fruit growers. It does not change the whole sector at once of course. Indeed, the three organisations are free to offer part of their cattle to other retailers. Also, much of our beef still reaches us through ‘long’ chains with intermediaries transporting the cattle to the slaughterhouse, slaughtering, deboning, etc. It is not our intention to make these chains disappear. However, we want to use the lessons learnt from our direct collaboration to make the broader meat sector more transparent.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.