Albert Heijn makes its pork range more sustainable in collaboration with Vion and pig farmers
Better for Pig, Nature and Farmer
Albert Heijn is making its pork production chain more sustainable and transparent. Together with pig farmers and meat processor Vion, the supermarket chain is starting a long-term programme: ‘Better for Pig, Nature and Farmer’. The exclusive collaboration with a select group of 100 Dutch pig farmers further reinforces Albert Heijn’s pork supply chain, which has already held the 1-star Beter Leven (Better Life) quality label since 2011.
Just like the now recognised ‘Better for Cow, Nature and Farmer’ programme in the dairy supply chain, Albert Heijn is now also developing a programme with pig farmers: ‘Better for Pig, Nature and Farmer’ and another ‘Better for’ programme with fruit and vegetable growers. Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn: “For years, Albert Heijn has been working with strategic partners, growers and farmers on our fresh range – from apples to Brussels sprouts and from dairy to pork. We often know our growers and farmers from one generation to the next and we work with them in programmes to improve our product range and realise future developments. For years, we have been buying our products from as nearby as possible and as far away as necessary. This means that the majority of our range comes from the Netherlands. We set the bar high when it comes to freshness, quality and sustainability. We pay farmers and growers a premium for the extra effort required. That offers them certainty and continuity so that they can invest in their businesses and everyone in the supply chain can make a decent living, both now and in the future. Following the successful collaboration in the dairy supply chain, we are now adopting the same approach in our pork supply chain and our fruit and vegetable supply chain. Better for our supply chains and for our customers.”
To increase the sustainability of the pork supply chain, we are focusing on three key elements: pig, nature and farmer.
The pig farmers – with whom Albert Heijn has worked for years – work with care and attention for the animals every day. Albert Heijn is proud of their professionalism. 97 % of Albert Heijn’s own-brand fresh pork comes from the Netherlands and has at least a 1-star Beter Leven quality label. Pigs in the programme are given more materials to play with and occupy them, and the pig farmers continuously monitor conditions in the barns to ensure a healthy climate for the animals. Research projects in the field of animal welfare are also part of the new programme.
Albert Heijn wants to reduce the climate impact of pork products annually. Over the next five years, Albert Heijn wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by 18.5%. In addition, all farms use green electricity and attention is paid to promoting biodiversity on the land. Wherever possible, residual flows from food production, such as wheat semolina and bread scraps, are used as animal feed. The palm oil and soya in the animal feed are produced responsibly.
A long-term pricing system is being developed for pig farmers that participate in the programme. This offers pig farmers greater continuity, security and a healthy revenue model. The ‘Better for Pig, Nature and Farmer’ programme is being developed with farmers and will provide transparency right down to the source using technologies such as blockchain and DNA traceability.
Jaap Kreuger, pig farmer and participant in the programme: “Through this collaboration, we are strengthening the direct line to consumers in the Netherlands. We are happy with this programme. It is ambitious, has a long-term agenda and offers us prospects.”
Ronald Lotgerink, CEO of Vion, is proud of this collaboration: “We will do our utmost to further develop the Albert Heijn pork supply chain and make it more sustainable through intensive collaboration with Albert Heijn and the pig farmers. This is also fully in line with our approach: the joint development of future-proof, short and demand-driven supply chains.”