Colruyt wants to make it easier for their customers to consume consciously. That’s why they’re introducing seasonal indications in 14 trial shops starting next year. Research conducted by the Flemish government shows that customers could start shopping more sustainably due to these kinds of behaviour interventions, and shops can realise more sales of these products as a result. For seasonal vegetables, the story is quite complex, according to the researchers. A weak link between the season and products increases the efficiency of the intervention.
Tests were conducted in four Colruyt stores by a cooperation between the Flemish government and the University of Ghent over nine months. With small changes, they tried to encourage customers to buy more sustainably. For example, the middle display of the fresh market showed a new seasonal vegetable each month, with a sign saying: ‘Enjoy the Season.’ “The tests for seasonal vegetables brought forth a complex story. Research shows intervention has no or little effect when the customers strongly link the product to the season (such as pumpkin in autumn). On the other hand, a weaker link with the season, such as cauliflower in August, increases the efficiency of the intervention,” according to the researchers.
Evolution of sales of cauliflower, chart from the research report (link to Dutch website).
Seasonal fruit and vegetables more visible in shops
“The results of the tests show that small changes can incite customers to shop more sustainably, sometimes a little more, sometimes a lot more. In any case, Colruyt will start with an increased visibility of seasonal fruit and vegetables on the fresh market,” Colruyt says.
The Flemish government will make recommendations to supermarkets and other shops based on the results to help consumers consume more sustainably.
Source: Departement Omgeving