About 6 years ago the fruit and vegetable department at Aldi Belgium consisted of an average of 65 products. Since then, the fruit and vegetable assortment has grown to an average of 106 products. "We have put a lot of effort into our fresh produce department in recent years," says Kilian De Geyter, Category Manager fruit and vegetable of Aldi Belgium.
“The range has become much more diverse with more products in different shapes and sizes. We try to build a range as balanced as possible and to introduce new products. For example, a few weeks in to the year we have kiwi berries or a specific snack vegetable package. In addition, we are fully committed to local sourcing, as close as possible, as far as necessary. ”
Kilian De Geyter
“All fruit and vegetables that we purchase go through brokers. This has a huge advantage that eases the load, "says Kilian. “For us, these brokers are strategic trading partners that have been suppliers to us for decades with a gentlemens agreement. They can in turn build strategic relationships with growers. In this way we also have dedicated growers who supply us almost linearly. The advantage of the middleman is that everything is finished uniformly and that we can deliver very efficiently with full wagons in our distribution centers. "
Aldi starts with more references in bulk
The 'less plastic' discussion also plays a major role at Aldi. “We check for each product whether packaging is necessary for its shelf life and quality. It is completely useless to save a package if you have to throw the product in the trash afterwards. We have traditionally been selling many pre-packaged products. For example apples per 6 or a net of 2 kilograms, juice oranges. Soon we will start with various new recommendation that we will sell in bulk, such as apples, pears and tomatoes. In this way we will use less packaging and serve smaller families," continues the Category Manager. “The use of Bioplastics is still on the back burner. The packaging still has quite a few disadvantages that do not outweigh the benefits."
Quality, freshness and presentation
“One of the things that we at Aldi have to work on is the perception that Aldi purchases second-class products. That is completely incorrect. Aldi purchases very good quality, but we still have to work on our perception, "says De Geyter. “In addition, we must continue to focus on quality, freshness and presentation at the point of sale. Its been 2 years since we have trained two fruit and vegetable coaches per regional headquarters to assist our stores with fresh food and presentation. "
"Belgian mini chicory and Doyenne pear big growers"
“The biggest growers in Aldi Belgium's fresh produce range are Belgian mini chicory, Doyenne pear, butternut squash, turnips and the SunGold kiwi from Zespri. Although we also offer organic products (both the basic assortment and more specialised products), we notice that these products are not running large volumes. It remains a fact, of course, that conventional fruit and vegetables are also of top quality and comply with all Aldi quality requirements. These MRLs are even stricter than the law demands," says Kilian.
Belgian retail market
With a significant market share, Aldi is stands its ground in the Belgian retail market, where Jumbo recently entered. "We are doing our own thing. The arrival of a new player does not change that. With our recent conversion wave we have an up-to-date shopping park with a beautiful, prominent place for fresh. I am convinced that by offering the best quality at low prices, we can continue to appeal to our customers.”
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