The Carrefour Group is pursuing its pioneering commitment to better food through initiatives such as Act for Food(1) and the Loop platform(2) for returnable packaging. These initiatives illustrate the role Carrefour wants to play in the food transition towards better eating. But not all the world’s regions are mobilising to face this transition at the same pace, nor on the same issues: success means being in tune with multiple micro-trends, as the group’s Sustainability Director, Bertrand Swiderski, explains.
How did the Carrefour group’s commitment to better food emerge, and how would you assess the actions taken in this regard?
It was during the first Earth Summit in 1992 that several people within the Group began thinking about a major issue: how can we encourage consumers to eat better? This led to several initiatives. An internal training school was set up for food trades such as butchery and baking. The organic age began at the same time. We started developing exclusive recipes like our round loaf of bread, which is still prepared today. We also realised that promoting high-quality products meant forging direct relationships with producers. This is how the Carrefour Quality Line was created, again in 1992, based on a three-way contract between the Group, producers and processors. This is also when the group decided to ban GMOs from its products, although difficulties remain. The soya sold on our shelves contains no GMOs, but this virgin soya is difficult to import, especially from Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter, where cultivation is unfortunately synonymous with deforestation.