Fresh produce buyer Sven van de Voorde, Delhaize

New Delhaize formula focuses on organic and convenience

Late September, Delhaize opened its first renewed shop in Nijvel, Belgium.”We completely changed the lay-out of the shop. When people enter the shop, they’ll immediately walk to the snack fruit. We also put a greater emphasis on organic. We’re putting organic in the spotlight more by grouping these products by means of a colour code, so that customers can easily find our organic products throughout the shop,” says Sven van de Voorde, fresh producer buyer for Delhaize. Delhaize also changed the packaging of organic fruit and vegetables. “When possible, we try to sell our organic products without packaging , unless the packaging benefits the product’s shelf life. We now have carrots in various colours, scorzonera and Jerusalem artichoke, which we sell without packaging.”

Fresh market
“We put emphasis on organic because we’ve seen demand increasing incredibly rapidly. The organic segment is driven by health and flavour. We’re trying to stimulate the health of our customers, so that’s why we focus on organic,” Sven says. “Customers are changing quickly, we’ve noticed. In the middle of the week, they prefer buying convenience, but near the end of the week, they enjoy cooking for their families. We have to anticipate all of these matters, and respond to them. Nijvel came about from the needs of the customers. That’s why fruit and vegetables aren’t near the entrance, but more towards the back of the shop. This makes more sense in the customer’s shopping experience. The customer first comes across the snack and ‘on-the-go’ products, then drinks, and then fruit and vegetables. In Nijvel, we used low furniture in the shop, so that is seems as if you’re walking through a fresh market.”

Cotton bags
Next week, Delhaize’s second renewed shop will be opened, and about ten more shops will follow this year, while the remaining shops will be done next year. “In Nijvel, we only use paper and cotton bags. The cotton bags are reusable, and customers really take to this, they consider this a positive development. This response means we’ll roll out this scheme to other shops more quickly. Customers also use their own cotton bags the next time they visit. In Nijvel, room for fruit and vegetables is limited, that’s why we work with the seasons more, and customers really like this. It’s a good school for seeing customers feel differently about retail than they did a few years ago,” Sven continues.

The fresh produce buyer has seen all convenience products doing well recently. “Products that make the customer’s life easier do well. The Mediterranean shelves are also booming. It’s starting to outgrow fruit and vegetables a bit, but despite this it’s still incredibly popular,” Sven concludes.

For more information:
Delhaize Le Lion / De Leeuw Comm. VA 
Osseghemstraat, 53 
1080 Brussels, Belgium 
+ 32 2 412 21 11  

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