Enabling conscious consumption

We are continuously expanding our range of more sustainable products for the benefit of our customers. Our CR Programme commits us to raising the awareness of our customers even more in the future for sustainable consumption.

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Clear labelling and easy identification

Clear product labelling gives our customers orientation. They can easily recognise whether our products originate from organic farming methods or fair trade, are vegetarian or vegan, or are manufactured without any additives.

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Raising the awareness of consumers for sustainability

We use a range of different communication formats in order to draw people’s attention to sustainability issues. Our objective is to promote a responsible approach to food and raise the awareness of our customers for balanced nutrition.

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Donating rather than throwing away

In spite of careful planning, we are not always able to sell all our products completely. A lot of unsaleable food that is still edible and non-food items are donated for charitable purposes.

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Enabling conscious consumption

Customers & Community

The focus is on our customers

Millions of customers make their purchases at the ALDI North Group every day. Their trust is our most important asset. That is why they can always rely on outstanding value for money at the ALDI North Group. Over recent decades we have continuously expanded our product range with innovative products and services. Today, you will find, for example, organic products or Fairtrade articles in many countries where the ALDI North Group is operating. We are continually expanding our range of more sustainable and healthier products. Furthermore, we are taking over comprehensive responsibility for our supply chain.

In line with our holistic interpretation of sustainability, we also aim at enabling our customers to engage in conscious consumption. Our objective is to promote a responsible approach to food and to raise the awareness of our customers for balanced nutrition. We take these functions very seriously. Our customer magazine ALDI aktuell and our websites are some of the tools we use to reach a large number of consumers and promote our objectives. At the same time, we facilitate the purchasing decisions for our customers by providing our products with transparent labelling. Our customers can easily identify some of the organically cultivated and ethically produced products with own brands like GutBio or FAIR.

Our aim is not only to make a contribution to responsible consumption by our customers. We are also committed to a responsible approach for implementing our own processes. We therefore avoid food surpluses and we donate many products that can still be consumed but are no longer saleable to charitable organisations. This will be part of the legislative framework in France. It enables us to make a contribution to solving some of the challenges in society. We have also defined this goal in our Corporate Responsibility (CR) Policy.

Clear labelling and easy identification

Clear labelling and easy identification

From organic to fair: sustainable product alternatives

The clear labelling of organically produced or Fairtrade products provides customers with orientation. Consumers in Europe recognise organic products, in particular by means of the familiar EU organic logo. Products with this logo are included in our product range in all nine countries where we have stores. We have also launched our own GutBio brand so that we can give products from controlled organic production an even higher profile. It is used in four countries. A number of companies in the ALDI North Group use other own brands, for example Økolivet in Denmark. We are consistently expanding our organic range. In 2015, we included 433 organic products in our product range in total throughout the ALDI North Group, with as many as 125 products in Germany alone. The standard range of organic products is supplemented by organic special-buy products and regional products.

EU-Bio-Logo und Fairtrade-Zertifizierung
Number of own-brand products with EU organic logo and number of insourced own-brand products with Fairtrade certification in the product range

20141 2015  
Organic products Fairtrade products Organic products Fairtrade products
Belgium/Luxembourg2 20 3 56 3
Denmark 54 5 86 8
Germany 100 5 125 15
France 31 1 45
Netherlands 33 3 66 37
Poland 5 9 1
Portugal 41 2 60 7
Spain 80 1 105 1
ALDI North Group3 304 14 433 58

1 For the year 2014, data on centrally purchased articles is not available for all countries.
2 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report“).
3 The ALDI buying companies partly insource individual products for several countries, therefore the total number of insourced products may be lower than the total of the breakdowns by country.

Fairtrade products are certified with the Fairtrade mark. This ensures that social, economic and environmental standards are complied with in the production of resources. As a TransFair license holder, the ALDI North Group has been engaging in fair trading since 2012. In 2015, we had a total of 58 Fairtrade certified products in our range throughout the ALDI North Group. In the same year, we launched our own brand FAIR for Fairtrade certified products. Our intention is to use this brand to further enhance the awareness for products manufactured in accordance with socially ethical standards. FAIR goods are already being sold in three of the countries where the ALDI North Group is operating. The FAIR product range in the Netherlands includes chocolate, sugar, bananas and honey.

We also provide transparency for other sustainability aspects of our products with a system of labelling. For example, we have established in our purchasing policies that in future we will only buy resources like cocoa from certified sources. Our customers can trace the origin by seals and logos, such as UTZ or Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM displayed on the product packaging.

Vegetarian and vegan products are easy to recognise

We encounter a range of aspirations for different types of nutrition from our customers. Our selection of pure vegetarian food without any meat therefore supports all customers who have a lifestyle which encompasses vegetarian or vegan food. The terms vegetarian and vegan have so far not been defined in the legislation. Since 2015, we have therefore been labelling the relevant products uniformly with the V-Label in a number of countries including Germany. This label is an international seal of approval which is awarded in Germany by the German Vegetarian Association (VEBU). It confers an award on products which guarantee to have no meat or fish in them, and no content originating from animals, such as gelatine. This measure enables us to achieve a higher level of transparency and gives our customers support in orientation. 16 products from the ALDI North Group carried the V-Label in Germany in 2015. The objective is to continuously expand the product range with other V-Label products and to establish our own brand.

Number of products labelled as vegetarian and/or vegan in the product range and proportional breakdown by countries (in percent)

Number of products labelled as vegetarian and/or vegan

1 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report“).

A number of own-brand products in the product range only contain very small amounts of animal content. Under our National Animal Welfare Purchasing Policy Germany, we are gradually requesting the suppliers of these products to phase out animal content if possible. We started with a review of different juices where gelatine might be used for clarifying. This is a way of increasing diversity for customers with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Our product range of lactose-free and gluten-free products is continuously being expanded for customers with food allergies. We generally label these products with a supplement to the product designation.

Average number of fruit and vegetable products in the product range

2015
Belgium/Luxembourg1 66
Denmark 90
Germany 74
France 65
Netherlands 75
Poland 65
Portugal 85
Spain 120
ALDI North Group (average) 80

1 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report“).

GM technology: Seal provides security

Food made from genetically modified organisms (GMO) is subject to a critical discussion in the public domain. In Germany, we are therefore using the “Ohne GenTechnik” seal (Ohne Gentechnik = no genetic engineering) from the “Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik” (VLOG – Industry Association Food without Genetic Engineering) for food which has been deliberately produced without the application of genetic engineering. The seal extends beyond the scope defined in European legislation. This labelling gives consumers assurance that when they purchase products like milk, meat or eggs, they are not buying products originating from animals that have been fed with feedstock made from genetically modified organisms, or that the prescribed feeding times relevant to the species of animal have been complied with before the manufacture of food. During the year under review, we were able to label twelve products from our range with the VLOG seal indicating a GMO-free product.

Clean Label highlights the absence of additives

Many consumers make enquiries about additives such as taste enhancers, colouring agents and preservatives. Already 25 years ago, the ALDI North Group stopped using food additives in many of its own-brand products. In Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Poland we have been labelling products with the Clean Label where we have deliberately refrained from using specific additives since 2011. This label indicates to consumers that the products are manufactured without taste enhancers, aroma additives, colouring agents and preservatives.

Healthier product combinations

We want to promote balanced nutrition for our customers where possible. In a number of countries, we have therefore started to gradually improve the composition of a number of products in accordance with the requirements for healthy nutrition. Appropriate labels highlight healthier product alternatives for our customers. For example, the keyhole seal (Nøglehulsmærket) is used in Denmark. Labelled food contains more fibre and less fat, fewer saturated fatty acids, and less sugar and salt than comparable products. In the Netherlands, we are taking part in a sector initiative which is committed to developing improved product combinations. The objective of the initiative is to make it easier for consumers to benefit from healthy nutrition. ALDI Netherlands is gradually changing the composition of different product groups as a result of the initiative. For example, the proportion of salt and saturated fatty acids has already been reduced in meat products. The next step will involve reducing the amount of salt in soups and stocks as well as the added sugar content in dairy products. The ALDI North Group has also been reducing the salt content of products in Germany since 2011.

ATC creates transparency about origin

Food scandals have unsettled consumers over recent years. Consumers are therefore increasingly asking about the origin of food and they request more transparency. Since 2014, we have been meeting these requirements with the ALDI Transparency Code (ATC). Our customers are now able to trace the origin of lots of products online at any time – this means that we are going beyond the statutory requirements. Consumers can find information about meat and products containing meat in German stores by going to transparenz.aldi-nord.de. They can find out where the relevant animals where reared, slaughtered, butchered and processed. Information is also available about suppliers and product certificates. A QR Code on the product packaging enables customers interested in finding out more to have direct access to information about origin on the ATC internet page.

One year after the roll-out, 207 meat products and products containing meat of our own brands in Germany were already labelled with ATC in 2015. This corresponds to a proportion of 80.5 percent of all meat and products with meat content. In 2016, we will expand the ATC platform to two additional product groups in Germany, including fish and products with fish content. The medium-term plan is to provide this package for our customers throughout the ALDI North Group. In its National Animal Welfare Purchasing Policy, ALDI Netherlands has defined the goal of converting all products with fish content to ATC by the end of 2016. Alongside the ATC, the 5D Label (for fresh chicken and turkey products) enables our customers in Germany to trace the origin of products. Stores in the Netherlands use the consumer service fTRACE. Beef and pork from France is identified with two appropriate seals. Fresh meat products labelled with the Danish Heart shows our customers at ALDI Denmark, that the animals were born in Denmark, grew up and were slaughtered there.

Proportion of meat or meat-containing own-brand products labelled with ATC in Germany (in percent)

ATC

Raising the consumer's awareness for sustainability

Raising the consumer's awareness for sustainability

Alongside clear product labelling, we also use a range of different communication formats in order to draw people’s attention to sustainability issues. These tools mainly relate to our customer magazine ALDI aktuell which reaches a large number of customers with a circulation of 46 million copies each week. The magazine informs our customers about products, ingredients and quality seals. It also provides information about additional consumer-related topics – depending on the country – such as animal welfare. We also motivate readers with attractive recipes designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. In Belgium, we have provided our customers with information about organic products and coffee certifications in two brochures. We also give information on sustainability issues at the ALDI North Group on our company websites and with notices in the stores. We would like to expand our communication measures further. We have therefore made a commitment in our CR Programme to further enhance the awareness of our customers for sustainable consumption. Our aim is to promote this commitment with pilot projects in the run-up to 2018.

Average annual circulation of customer magazines, broken down by magazines

2014 2015
Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Gourmet Magazin Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Gourmet Magazin
Belgium/Luxembourg1 4,656,600 4,656,600 4,654,528 4,654,.528
Denmark 1,813,192   1,712,892 100,300 1,625,739 1,525,639 100,100
Germany 43,481,646 22,282,154 1,313,123   19,886,369 43,869,605 22,525,573 1,378,658 19,965,374
France 9,046,333 9,046,333 9,067,031 9,067,031
Netherlands2 6,673,515 5,239,615 1,433,900 7,346,736 5,400,000 1,946,736
Poland 1,359,256 1,359,256 2,266,180 1,794,060 472,120
Portugal 441,273 441,273   441,760 441,760
Spain2 3,483,673 1,883,673 1,600,000 2,789,251 1,081,901 1,707,350
ALDI North Group 70,955,488 46,621,796 1,313,123 23,020,569  72,060,830 46,490,492 1,378,658 24,191,680

1 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report”).
2 The data on the circulation of the Gourmet Magazin for the Netherlands and Spain relates to themed publications, such as “Fish Week” or the “Christmas Magazine”.

Weight of paper used for the customer magazines (in metric tons)

2014 2015
Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Gourmet Magazin Total ALDI aktuell ALDI Reisen Gourmet Magazin
Belgium/Luxembourg1 9,756 9,756 10,299 10,299
Denmark 2,544 2,541 3 2,537 2,535 2
Germany 63,017 61,114 739 1,164 65,560 63,299 880 1,381
France 15,637 15,637 16,253 16,253
Netherlands2 8,113 8,093 20 8,635 8,397 238
Poland 2,259 2,259 2,521 2,512 9
Portugal 751 751 810 810
Spain2 6,840 6,822 18 2,769 2,590 179
ALDI North Group 108,917 106,973 739 1,205 109,384 106,695 880 1,809

1 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report“).
2 The data on the tonnage of the Gourmet Magazin for the Netherlands and Spain relates to themed publications, such as “Fish Week” or the “Christmas Magazine”.

Nationwide sustainability campaigns in the Netherlands

ALDI Netherlands participated in several campaigns in 2015 with the aim of informing consumers about sustainability issues and drawing their attention to relevant product offers. The national Fairtrade Week was celebrated in the Dutch stores by special-buy products with Fairtrade and organic certification and customers were provided with information about the seals. The ALDI North Group company also participated in “Think Fish Week”, which was initiated by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) in the Netherlands. The campaign focused on the topic of sustainable fish purchasing.

Customer communication: open dialogue and rapid responses

We use a variety of different communication tools to inform our customers about our products, their origin and our sustainability engagement. However, effective customer dialogue also demands good listening. That’s why we are always available for our customers and we have set ourselves the goal of answering every enquiry within a very short period of time: either in our stores or by means of using our customer contact form. We want to improve continuously. ALDI Spain therefore carries out regular customer surveys.

Customer loyalty in the Spanish market

Kundenbindung im spanischen Markt

The nationwide uniform communication concept “Our products speak for themselves” (Nuestros productos hablan por sí solos) is used to position the ALDI brand in the Spanish market and strengthen our corporate image. The objective is to create a close link between the stores and the surrounding communities. The concept includes a range of campaign formats for opening new stores. In May 2015, six new ALDI North Group stores were opened on Mallorca at the same time. An event with widespread impact supported the openings. Product tastings and a show cooking event were held in Palma de Mallorca in the presence of the mayor and the local press. Regional and organic products were also promoted at this event. Lots of visitors and a high level of media response confirmed the success of the concept.

Donating rather than throwing away

Donating rather than throwing away

Avoiding surpluses by donating goods that can no longer be sold

A key concern of environmental organisations, consumer advocates and governments for many years has been reducing food wastage. We want to raise the awareness of our customers for a responsible approach to food. We can only have a credible image in this endeavour if we apply this principle in our own processes. Surpluses are avoided by planning our goods inventories very conscientiously. In Germany, France and Poland, we offer fresh meat and fish products at reduced prices just before expiry of the use-by date. In spite of these measures and careful planning, we are not always able to sell all our products completely. We have to remove edible goods from the shelves if they no longer satisfy our requirements for quality and freshness. A lot of unsaleable food that is still edible and non-food items are donated throughout the ALDI North Group. A large number of companies in the ALDI North Group cooperate with regional charitable organisations and food banks. During the year under review, 62 percent of our stores donated unsaleable food that was still edible. In some countries, unopened products from product tastings that take place every day and samples are also donated.

Proportion of stores that donate unsaleable food to charitable institutions to the total number of stores (in percent)

2014 2015
Belgium/Luxembourg1 100.0 100.0
Denmark 3.6
Germany 89.4 98.1
France
Netherlands
Poland 4.8
Portugal 8.5
Spain 60.4 76.5
ALDI North Group 56.7 61.5

1 ALDI Belgium and ALDI Luxembourg are legally independent companies (see “About this Report“).

Since 2013, ALDI Portugal has been engaging in the “Network for supporting food” (Rede de Apoio Alimentar) at the Montijo site. Food that cannot be delivered to the stores is donated to charitable and social institutions which belong to the network. In 2015, the commitment was extended to four Portuguese stores. They entered into joint ventures with the German-Portuguese charitable organisation Associação de Beneficência Luso-Alemã and with non-governmental association Re-Food Portugal. These organisations distribute food to vulnerable people. In Germany, we mainly work together with the regional organisations of the food banks. ALDI Belgium regularly donates unsaleable Christmas and Easter products in all stores. In Denmark, we work together with a non-profit restaurant from Copenhagen which uses donated food. The income generated is used to support humanitarian projects. Since 2011, ALDI Spain has been regularly donating food. Spanish stores cooperate in these ventures with various local organisations of the national food bank. At the Chorzów site in Poland, unsaleable but edible food and product samples are donated to the Polish Caritas charity. ALDI Netherlands has been working since 2016 with the Dutch food bank. It initially launched two pilot projects in two regional companies. The aim is to continue expanding this partnership in 2016.

By 2017, we will have drawn up a guideline on dealing with unsaleable food in the stores that applies to the entire ALDI North Group. This will ensure a uniform approach in all the countries. We have defined this guideline in our CR Programme.

Collect, donate, support

Alongside food and non-food donations, monetary donations for charitable organisations and projects are also part of social commitment at the ALDI North Group. We also cooperate with workshops for people with physical disabilities, mainly in Germany. The foundation ALDI Nord Stiftungs-GmbH set up in 2015 by the ALDI North Group will also make an important contribution to this engagement in future.

Since 2009, ALDI Portugal has also been staging sales promotions for charitable purposes. Customers are able to directly donate products they choose to the local food-bank aid organisation Banco Alimentar after having bought them at the store. 21 stores took part in each of the two campaigns held in 2015. In 2014 and 2015, ALDI Portugal also supported the Earth Group organisation. Water from the Earth Group was sold to support the World Food Programme of the United Nations. ALDI Portugal has been donating used printer cartridges from its administrative department to the foundation Fundação do Gil since August 2015. This organisation is dedicated to helping sick and socially disadvantaged children and young people. The cartridges are sold to appropriate disposal companies for recycling. This is environmentally friendly and generates income for the foundation to use on its social projects.

Products labelled with the Fairtrade mark originate from fair trade arrangements. Since 1992, the independent association TransFair has been conferring the Fairtrade mark in Germany. The aim of this mark is to support small-scale farmers and workers in developing countries located in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and to improve their position sustainably in the global market. When the mark is awarded international Fairtrade standards must be complied with which cover comprehensive social, economic and environmental aspects.

The UTZ Programme was established in the Netherlands in 2002. The aim is to provide sustainable support for farmers in the countries producing coffee, cocoa and tea so that they can provide their families with better prospects for the future. A wide range of basic and advanced vocational training programmes provides farmers with theoretical instruction and practical support in good agricultural and business practices. Environmental measures are promoted for cultivation and harvesting in order to preserve the natural resources in the agricultural land. Ultimately, these diverse measures enhance the quality of the resources and increase the efficiency of cultivation. This also improves the financial reward generated by the farmer.

The international environmental protection organisation Rainforest Alliance was established in 1987 in the battle to combat the ongoing destruction of rain forests. The seal Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM with the green frog logo labels products such as coffee, cocoa, tea, bananas and citrus fruit which originate from sustainably cultivated farms. Farmers and agricultural cooperatives have to comply with the strict criteria of the SAN Standard for sustainable agriculture. They include environmental, social and economic criteria. Improved conditions for workers, access to school education and protection of natural resources, sensitive ecosystems and wild animals are taken into account alongside traceability of resources.

The 5D label shows that all five stages of production take place in Germany. The animals and their parents must have been born and reared in Germany, nourished with feedstock from German feed mills, and slaughtered and processed there as well.

fTRACE offers detailed information online about where the animal originates from, the place and date of slaughter, processing and the packaging of the finished product.

reviewed contents 2015