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Retail and wholesale: pioneers in sustainable foods

23 April 2021
by smeunited -- last modified 23 April 2021

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides spoke today at the launch of the EuroCommerce #sustainablecommerce website, which illustrates the diversity and scale of initiatives adopted by retailers and wholesalers to support more sustainable consumption and healthier lifestyles and encourage sustainability across the food supply chain in line with the Farm-to-Fork strategy.


EuroCommerce Director-General, Christian Verschueren, underlined the commitment of the sector to these objectives:

"Retailers and wholesalers welcome and support the direction set in the Farm-to-Fork Strategy. The sector has been a pioneer, leading the way on a whole range of initiatives to operate more sustainably, and encouraging customers to adopt healthier and more sustainable lifestyles. Achieving the Farm-to-Fork objectives will need the whole supply chain to be working together. Our members have been working with their suppliers to ensure the products they sell allow consumers to live a healthier and more sustainable life. We see this as an important starting point in a longer-term process and have asked the Commission to help create a structure for dialogue among all players in the supply chain."

Retailers and wholesalers interact daily with millions of customers and, as COVID-19 has shown, play a central role in providing an essential service to Europe's 450 million consumers. The Farm-to-Fork strategy will ultimately succeed if it is consumer-driven: a study by McKinsey and EuroCommerce showed that 50% of consumers planned to buy more healthy, local, or environmentally friendly foods in 2021. Affordability will also be important: 37% of consumers were looking to spend less on groceries, while 26% wanted both to save money on groceries while also moving towards sustainable lifestyles.  The #SustainableCommerce website demonstrates the importance of taking consumers along in this journey and collaboration across the whole supply chain to reach the strategy's objectives and the need to. Cooperation and supply chain dialogue will also be essential in delivering on the Commission's proposed code of conduct.

The website provides an insight into how business is making the farm to fork objectives a reality in line with their specific strategic focus and scale. It sets out in detail the initiatives and undertakings taken forward by retailers and wholesalers in three sections on 1) how our sector cooperates with farmers and other partners; 2) promotes sustainability and healthy lifestyles, and 3) supports sustainable practices. This builds on the sector's strong track record as a pioneer in offering and promoting more sustainable choice, including organic, healthier choices with reformulated and 'free-from' products, measures taken to reduce our CO2 footprint, to limit the use of plastic and packaging more generally, and to minimise food waste.

SMEunited, formerly known as UEAPME, is the association of crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited is a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions.

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