On the case: fruit-and-vegetable judges rule on freshness

Judges that scrutinise apples and cucumbers? They really exist! In Belgium, we train warehouse employees to become “fruit-and-vegetable judges”. As experts on freshness, they play an important role in meeting our customers’ high expectations.


At first glance, the kohlrabi in the large green crates looks fresh and delicious. But is it really? To find out, employees in the receiving area at our distribution centres have to look very closely. Do the vegetables have the right level of ripeness? Are they damaged? Are the leaves crisp and green? A new training programme was introduced in Belgium in 2017 to ensure that colleagues there inspect fruit and vegetables as critically as an outside expert. The goal is to get employees more excited about freshness and quality and to expand their knowledge. After an initial four-day training module, the employees take part in another module at a later date.

However, the quality chain at ALDI North does not start with the receiving department at the distribution centre. The employees in the Buying department set clear specifications for our suppliers before this stage. Consider grapes, for example. From their condition to sugar content and delivery temperature, everything has been precisely determined. We also require a social evaluation from suppliers when it comes to fruit and vegetables. As a result, we help to build awareness of good labour standards among the producers.

Once the fruit and vegetables have arrived at the store, the employees there perform another check to make sure the quality is good. Two fruit-and-vegetable specialists at every regional company ensure that the store employees are real experts on freshness. In future, plans call for having specially trained employees in charge of produce at the stores inspect the fruit and vegetables that are delivered and put on display. We are providing extensive training to this end in 2018.

“Fruit and vegetables must be fresh and crisp. That is just as important to us as it is to our customers,” says Kilian De Geyter, senior buyer in Belgium. “Through our programme to train employees to become fruit-and-vegetable judges, ALDI Belgium has generated even greater emphasis on this issue among employees.”

Quality inspectors check vegetables at the distribution centre
Quality inspectors check vegetables at the distribution centre
Quality inspectors check vegetables at the distribution centre
Quality inspectors check vegetables at the distribution centre
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Update 2018
UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (COP) 2018

This Interim Report 2018 and the Update 2018 also serve as Communication on Progress (COP)/Progress Report of the ALDI Nord Group within the framework of the United Nations Global Compact.

Subject of the report

This is the ALDI North Group’s second comprehensive Sustainability Report. It serves to provide our stakeholders with transparent information about our material social, environmental and economic goals and measures.

Key topics
Product quality

We make no compromises when it comes to the quality of our products. We take responsibility for this aspect along the entire production and supply chain. The focus is always on our customers’ needs.


We align our actions with our core values: simplicity, responsibility and reliability. These values also express the way the ALDI North Group sees and approaches compliance.

Concrete and measurable: our CR Programme

Within our CR Programme, we set clear goals for all fields of action. Our progress where they are concerned as part of the Sustainability Report.

Animal welfare at a discounter – a contradiction in terms?

Increasing numbers of consumers are interested in knowing where the food made from animals that they purchase in our stores comes from. We are working tirelessly on animal welfare issues together with our suppliers and various organisations in every country where ALDI North engages in retail.

Stakeholders & networks

The dialogue with our stakeholders provides us with valuable insights for our CR efforts. We are in contact with customers, employees, NGOs, initiatives, associations, suppliers, business partners, works councils and unions.