More sustainable product range
For many consumers, sustainability is an important argument when it comes to making buying decisions. Almost 70 per cent of the customers we surveyed as part of our 2017 materiality analysis said that sustainability played an important or very important role in choosing where to shop. Empowering our customers to choose a responsible, affordable and healthy approach to consumption is part of our corporate responsibility (CR) philosophy.
[GRI 102-2, 204/103-1/2, 417/103-1/2] We consistently tailor our products and services to the desires and expectations of our customers, which is why we are continually expanding our range of more sustainable products. We are also meeting the rising demand for products for special nutritional requirements, such as lactose- and gluten free items, as well as vegetarian and vegan products. At the same time, we are improving our range on a wide scale by adjusting ingredients, converting resources and promoting high environmental and social standards in the non-food supply chain.
Our more sustainable products are certified in accordance with recognised standards and identified by the corresponding seals. In addition, we use international and national own brands, such as Mein Veggie Tag for vegetarian items in Germany, Meat free days in the Netherlands and BON & VÉG in France. Since January 2018, our products made in compliance with animal welfare standards have been identified at selected German stores by the Fair & Gut own brand. We label products with the Clean Label where we have deliberately refrained from using specific additives such as taste enhancers, aroma additives, colouring agents and preservatives. The ALDI Transparency Code (ATC) also enables our customers to trace the origin of various meat products. In Germany, the ATC also covers fish products and eggs.
[GRI 204/103-2, 417/103-2] The central buying division and the respective national buying organisations are in charge of organising the buying process at ALDI North. In our purchasing policies, we document the status quo and set targets for switching to certified resources. Furthermore, we rule out critical products or production methods with the aid of negative lists. We work together to determine which measures for more sustainable products should be implemented.
[GRI 204/103-2, 417/103-2] The EU mandates country of origin labelling for certain agricultural products, such as fruit and vegetables. The regulations were recently tightened in some European countries. In France, a national regulation requiring country of origin labelling for dairy and meat in pre-packaged, processed food came into force in early 2017. Under the law, the origin of products containing at least 8 per cent meat must be labelled in France.
Progress and measures in 2017
[GRI 204/103-2, 417/103-2]
Organic: key topic for customers
In the past three years alone, we have succeeded in nearly doubling the number of organic products sold at ALDI North to more than 800 items from the standard and special-buy product ranges. With a market share of around 14 per cent, we are the leading retailer of organic food in the ALDI North sales region in Germany, according to the GFK Consumer Scan 2017. Our goal is to further expand our range of organic products in all ALDI North Group countries. The enquiries received by ALDI Spain’s new customer service team, for example, demonstrate how important the topic is for our customers as well. Because our Spanish customers have increasingly been asking for information about our range of organic products, ALDI Spain launched a wide-scale TV, Internet and print communication campaign to inform consumers about the GutBio own brand in the year under review.
Fairtrade: product range expanded
We are also expanding the proportion of Fairtrade products throughout the ALDI North Group. In 2017, our range featured 73 Fairtrade-certified products – an increase of 25 per cent compared with the first year of our sustainability reporting (2015). In Belgium, we were the first retailer to exclusively offer Fairtrade bananas to mark Fairtrade Week in 2017.ALDI Belgium is set to begin carrying 100 per cent Fairtrade roses in 2018. ALDI Poland added Fairtrade items to its standard and special-buy product ranges for the first time in 2017.
Special nutritional requirements: transparent labelling
In many countries, we have seen a rise in demand for products for special nutritional requirements in recent years and are expanding our range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten- and lactose-free products accordingly.
The V-Label identifies vegan products that are guaranteed not to contain any ingredients originating from animals. Vegetarian products may contain animal-based ingredients such as milk, eggs or cheese. Some 180 products in all ALDI North Group countries carried the V-Label or similar labelling in 2017, compared to 29 items in 2015.
In addition, we launched the Mein Veggie Tag own brand for vegetarian and vegan products in Germany in the year under review. Since 2017, our customers in Germany have been able to use the rennet list (Labliste) to find out which products do not contain animal-based rennet, which is used for making cheese. Customers in Portugal have also had online access to an overview of these products since 2018. From 2018, our cosmetic and personal care products in Germany will additionally carry the vegan flower symbol licensed by The Vegan Society.
In the period under review, ALDI Spain approved measures to create greater transparency for our customers when it comes to lactose- and gluten-free products. All lactose- and gluten-free products in Spain are to be labelled with recognised seals backed by appropriate certification and strict monitoring systems by January 2019. Gluten-free products are to receive the Crossed Grain symbol, which is issued by FACE (Federación de Asociaciones de Celíacos de España), the Spanish federation of coeliac associations. Lactose-free products will be labelled with the Adilac seal issued by the Spanish lactose intolerance association (Asociación de intolerantes a la lactosa de España – ADILAC). Since 2018, Portuguese customers have been able to find an overview of lactose- and gluten-free items from the seasonal and standard product range at aldi.pt. The products are also labelled accordingly on the shelf.
GMO-free: label builds trust
Genetic engineering is at the centre of critical public debate, especially in Germany and Denmark, which is why we have taken a clear stance on this issue. All suppliers of the ALDI North Group have long since been obliged to guarantee that their goods do not contain or consist of GMO ingredients, and that they are not produced with genetically modified food ingredients, additives or other substances according to EU legislation. This applies to all food products sold at the ALDI North Group and includes all upstream stages in the production process. We also require suppliers to keep all the appropriate declarations and any laboratory analyses and disclose them for audits.
When it comes to labelling, we go beyond the statutory requirements. The Ohne GenTechnik (no genetic engineering) seal from Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik (VLOG – Industry Association Food without Genetic Engineering) allows us to offer our customers in Germany certainty that no genetically modified fodder plants were used in food or in animal feed. In the year under review, we were able to label 72 items with the VLOG seal in Germany – an increase of 53 per cent compared with the previous year. In 2017, we became the first retailer in Denmark to introduce milk from cows that were proven to have received only non-GMO feed.
Transparent production: traceability with ATC and labels
Thanks to the ALDI Transparency Code (ATC), our customers are now able to trace the origin of lots of products online at any time. As a result, we go beyond the statutory regulations in this area too. We continue to expand this labelling to additional countries and products. In 2017, we placed the ATC on products from the meat and products containing meat, fresh shell eggs and fish and products containing fish product groups. In the ALDI North Group countries, the focus was on meat and products containing meat. The ATC was placed on 100 per cent of the fresh meat at ALDI Netherlands and 54 items in Belgium, France, Poland and Portugal. In 2018, we plan to introduce the ATC for clothing and home textiles, thereby supplementing the existing transparency list for textiles and shoes.
[GRI 417-1] To enable our customers to recognise immediately where a product’s ingredients come from and where they were processed, we have been using familiar and established designations of origin in addition to the ATC for several years now. In Germany, we have used the Regionalfenster Deutschland labelling since 2016. In Belgium, Denmark, France and Poland, we use national labels for domestically produced meat products, such as the ALDI North Group’s own BELGIAN QUALITY label in Belgium or the PRODUKT POLSKI seal in Poland.
Targets and status
[GRI 204/103-2/3, 417/103-2/3] We review the development of our more sustainable product range based on the targets defined in the purchasing policies, among other things, which call for an expansion of the proportion of organic products or further certifications depending on the resource. To monitor our progress, we conduct supplier surveys and audits, for example, as we do when it comes to animal welfare. In addition, we continue to promote the expansion of the ATC and have confirmed our commitment to doing so in our CR Programme.
Field of action: supply chain responsibility
|Objective||Status||Target date||Target value||Target relevance|
|Increase in the number of meat products and products containing meat with the ALDI Transparency Code (ATC)||new||Ongoing||Expansion||ALDI North Group|
|Expansion of efforts to reduce the salt and sugar content in additional own-brand products||new||Ongoing||Expansion||ALDI North Group|
|Expansion of the range of vegetarian and vegan products, including certification (e.g. V-Label)||new||Ongoing||Expansion||ALDI North Group|
|Expansion of test/certification systems and own standards that go above and beyond the statutory requirements and include animal welfare aspects||new||Ongoing||Expansion||ALDI North Group|
Target achieved Ongoing process
Number of listed food and non-food own-brand products labelled as vegetarian and/or vegan from the standard and special-buy product ranges1
In addition to the labelled products, the ALDI North Group offers a wide range of non-labelled vegetarian and/or vegan items.
|Vegetarian/vegan products||Vegetarian/vegan products||Vegetarian/vegan productsl|
|ALDI North Group||29||78||185|
1 Because certain products are purchased jointly for several countries, the total number of insourced products may be lower than the total of the breakdowns by country.
2 Late reporting information for the year 2016 resulted in partial amendments compared with the previous year’s report.
3 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI North Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to “Subject of the report”).
Number of own-brand products with EU organic logo and number of insourced own-brand products with Fairtrade certification in the standard and special-buy product range
|Organic products||Fairtrade products||Organic products||Fairtrade products||Organic products||Fairtrade products|
|ALDI North Group2||433||58||517||70||803||73
1 The information regarding the legally independent companies of the ALDI North Group in Belgium and Luxembourg has been combined for the purposes of a simplified presentation (refer to “Subject of the report”).
2 Because certain products are purchased jointly for several countries, the total number of insourced products may be lower than the total of the breakdowns by country.
Proportion of meat or meat-containing own-brand products from the standard and special-buy product ranges in Germany labelled with the ALDI Transparency Code (ATC) (percentage)
The scope of data is to be expanded and internationalised in the years ahead due to the introduction of the ATC for additional product groups and in additional countries.
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