Most of our organic fruit and vegetables come from Belgium. Organic farm and sheltered workshop De Lochting in Roeselare is one of our suppliers. Organic, social and local: three reasons why we have been working with them for years.
Our collaboration with De Lochting started 17 years ago. In the beginning, you could find their products only at Bio-Planet, later in our other stores as well. As the demand for organic products kept increasing, De Lochting started to convert 20 hectares of traditional farming land into organic farming land in 2016. This process can take 2 to 3 years. Indeed, the land must be left fallow for a year before farming according to organic principles can start. The first vegetables grown receive a label ‘in conversion’ and are sold at lower prices. Only after two years, the farmer receives the organic certification and the vegetables can be sold as 100% organic.
Colruyt Group helped De Lochting tide over the financially rough time. We bought the vegetables in conversion at higher purchase prices and sold them under our private label Boni Selection. As a result, De Lochting saw its sales in our stores double in two years’ time. In July 2018, the conversion was complete and we could put the first 100% organic vegetables from the new organic field on our shelves.
Thanks to the close partnership with De Lochting, our stores are certain to have a qualitative, local supply of organic vegetables in season, meeting the customers’ demand. What’s more, De Lochting has more financial security and can continue to grow.
De Lochting is also a social enterprise that welcomes about 150 people who are unable to find a job on the regular employment market, especially people with an impairment or having no degree. They till the land, compose fruit and vegetable packages or take care of greenery maintenance. De Lochting hopes that these people will eventually make their way to the regular employment circuit.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.