Ahold Delhaize USA has revealed new health and sustainability goals as part of the retailer’s strategy to develop a more sustainable food supply chain. The new goals arrive as the company’s proprietary research shows that 43% of consumers feel sustainability is “extremely important,” up from 28% of consumers before the pandemic.
“The past year has truly been an unprecedented time for food retailers,” noted Kevin Holt, CEO of Quincy, Massachusetts-based Ahold Delhaize USA. “But what has remained unchanged is our commitment to delivering for consumers whenever, wherever, however they want to shop. Food — and how consumers shop for it — has far-reaching impact. As food retailers, we recognize that our role in the food supply chain comes with great responsibility. Our expansive network means we can make a real and positive impact on local communities and our planet. That’s why we’ve committed to these goals — to hold ourselves accountable to the customers we serve and our world.”
The goals are as follows:
Healthier Choices: As well as offering its nutrition guidance system, Guiding Stars, Ahold Delhaize USA aims to make nutritious choices easy and convenient. In the area of product choice, the company and its banners have set a goal to have 54% of its private-brand food sales come from healthy sales by 2025. In support of this ambition, Ahold Delhaize USA has teamed with Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for a Healthier America to boost access to healthier food options for consumers and publicly disclose the percentage of sales from healthier options. The new goal marks the largest pledge to increase healthier food sales and transparency from a grocery retailer in the United States.
Greater Transparency: Ahold Delhaize USA has committed to creating a program that enables consumers to shop based on personal preferences such as using less plastic, ensuring humane treatment of animals, finding products free of chemicals of concern, and more. By 2025, the company will improve the information it provides regarding where products come from, beginning with fresh produce and meat. It will expand its current progress in sustainably sourcing seafood, coffee and tea to be 100% sustainably certified in cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper products and packaging, and in making key advances in animal welfare and human rights. The company is joining forces with Brooklyn, New York-based HowGood on an easy-to-use environmental and social-impact rating system for consumers. Ahold Delhaize USA banners Giant Food, The Giant Co. and Stop & Shop began offering the rating system to online shoppers this week. Additionally, the company’s private-brand products will have clear on-pack Bioengineered Food disclosure text well ahead of the Federal Bioengineered labeling deadline of Jan. 1, 2022. Ahold Delhaize USA also maintains stringent animal welfare guidelines.
Eliminating Waste: All Ahold Delhaize USA banners are Feeding America affiliates and, as such, are collectively committed to donate 2 billion meals via food rescue programs and donations. The grocer has pledged to reduce food waste by 32% by 2025 and 50% by 2030. Ahold Delhaize USA will continue working toward zero waste by achieving 90% waste diversion. Further, by 2025, Ahold Delhaize USA will seek to reduce overall use of single-use plastics; this undertaking includes making private-brand products 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable, and boosting recycled content by 25% by 2025. Ahold Delhaize USA banners take part in such efforts as the Beyond the Bag initiative, a multiyear collaboration across retail sectors with the aim of identifying innovative design solutions. The company’s divisions are also implementing cutting-edge supply-chain technologies that reduce waste by better predicting demand and supplying only the correct amounts of products to stores and e-commerce distribution points.
Taking Bold Climate Action: Through such methods as procuring and developing renewable energy, boosting the energy efficiency of facilities, moving toward more climate-friendly refrigerants, further reducing refrigerant leaks, or enhancing transportation and logistics efficiency, Ahold Delhaize USA is committed to reducing the absolute emissions from its business. It has also pledged to work with its suppliers to lower emissions from farm to fork.
In 2020, Ahold Delhaize released science-based targets and time-bound goals for 2030. The company pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% from its own operations by 2030, while working with suppliers to lower emissions from the supply chain by 15%. In 2019, Ahold Delhaize USA and its divisions enrolled in the Science Based Targets initiative to help set climate targets that align with the need to reduce carbon emissions.
The company plans to release further goals and plans for 2030 and beyond to build on these commitments.
Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. companies, consisting of Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, as well as e-grocer Peapod; Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands; and Peapod Digital Labs, its e-commerce engine. Operating more than 2,000 stores across more than 20 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.