Product Quality

Sustainable Assortment Policy

Dieter Overath, Chair of the Board, TransFair e.V.
Dieter Overath,
Chair of the Board, TransFair e.V.

It is a challenge, especially for the food retail industry, to reconcile issues of sustainability with consumer expectations of low prices. Sustainable agriculture is essential if we intend to leave behind a good future for our children. As a result, we are very pleased that the Schwarz Group approached us early on and offered fairly traded products throughout the country. Close cooperations like ours will make important steps for a more sustainable range of products – in the retail area as well – and will also open up new customer groups.

Here you can find out more about our management approach to sustainable assortment policy

Sustainable Raw Materials:
We will organize a more sustainable procurement process for the raw materials that are the most essential to us. For cocoa, this will be by the end of 2022 and for flowers and plants by the end of 2023. In the case of cotton as well as fish and fish products, this will be by the end of 2025. We will carry out ongoing detailed analyses for other raw materials.

Approximately
90%

of the cocoa products in the product range at Kaufland and Lidl come from sustainable sources (own brands, 2019)

Implementation and Measures

Kaufland and Lidl, in cooperation with renowned organic associations, are increasingly offering their customers local organic food produced according to the highest standards. Lidl Germany has been partnering with Bioland, the leading association for organic farming in Germany and Southern Tyrol, since November 2018. In total, over 80 permanently-established food items in Lidl Germany’s product assortment have already been produced in accordance with Bioland’s strict criteria, including apples, garden herbs, and wheat flour, as well as almost all dairy products under its own BioOrganic brand.

In addition, Lidl has also been supporting the Bioland Stiftung since January 2020. Through investments in research and development, this foundation promotes forward-looking projects which ensure the principles of organic farming over the long term and make it possible to measure their impact. The foundation began as a training initiative for farmers and was intended to support them by increasing the fertility of their soils by building up humus. Another foundation project actively uses humus for the purpose of climate protection, since humus buildup is an effective tool for enabling soil to retain CO2 and at the same time it makes the soil more fertile and rich in nutrients.

Kaufland has been offering numerous quality food products through its Demeter line, which was established in February 2019. By now, the assortment has grown to over 250 products and includes juices, dairy products, canned vegetables, pasta products, baby food, and cereals as well as fruits and vegetables. Especially stringent guidelines in terms of biodynamic agriculture, which go far beyond the minimum standards of the EU organic label, are imposed on products with the Demeter brand. As Kaufland’s partnership with Demeter is intended for the long term, the product assortment will be gradually expanded.

In 2018 Kaufland, together with over 60 contract farmers, launched the “Qualitätsfleischprogramm Schwein”, which goes far beyond the legal requirements for husbandry conditions. Among other things, the program provides for 40 percent more space for livestock in so-called open front stables, which provide plenty of daylight and fresh air in addition to feed produced without genetic engineering.

Through these and other criteria, the products under the program also fulfill the high standards of the “Level 3 Farming Method – Outside Climate”. Kaufland is currently the only retailer in Germany which can offer pork produced with a level 3 farming method.

The entire process chain is in Kaufland’s own hands – Kaufland’s meat processing plants maintain a direct contractual relationship with every farmer taking part in the program and regularly sends its trained animal welfare officers to audit farms and slaughterhouses.

In order to promote its sales of regional products, in 2010 Lidl Germany began to offer regionally produced dairy products and eggs from Bavaria as well as other products under its own brand “Ein gutes Stück Heimat” (A Good Piece of Home). The core elements of the concept include species-appropriate animal husbandry, the use of GMO-free feed and supporting participating farmers through additional transparent proceeds. The farmers were thus able to earn nearly 20 million euros more by the end of the reporting period. In addition, since 2012 Lidl Germany has used the “Window to the Region” seal on selected products to show the origin of the key ingredient and processing site.

Kaufland likewise offers regionally produced foods in its German stores, which are appropriately marked with the “Regio-Herz” (Regional Heart) seal. Kaufland considers regional products to be products that are grown in the respective region and are produced or harvested within a 30-kilometer radius of the respective store. Other Kaufland countries in central and eastern Europe also tag their own brands which are produced within the country with corresponding country hearts. The program also manages regional products whose sales are promoted in part by appropriate programs. For example, Kaufland Slovakia supports, under a funding project, small and mid-sized food producers in that region. By the end of fiscal year 2019, 59 regional suppliers were supplying Kaufland stores in Slovakia with dairy products, pasta products, and other items.

The Schwarz Group also makes use of sustainable and recyclable products in its textiles. Whenever possible, Kaufland certifies its organic cotton textile products in accordance with the ambitious criteria established by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). In addition to the GOTS, Kaufland is also committed to the Global Recycling Standard (GRS) and had itself audited accordingly in 2019. In addition, all Kaufland stores offer tote bags made of GOTS-certified organic cotton.

For the first time in September 2009, Lidl in Germany offered Fairtrade-certified textiles with a Fairtrade code, which makes it possible for customers to trace the origin of a product back to the producer. In addition, as part of a special campaign in the fall of 2019, all German Lidl stores temporarily offered an assortment of GOTS-certified textile collections produced in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle standard. All aspects of Cradle to Cradle Certified™ products are reviewed by independent experts for resource effectiveness and recyclability. Lidl also offers GRS-certified textiles as part of its promotional assortment. In addition, in 2019 Kaufland and Lidl were among the first German retail companies to have items certified in accordance with the social and environmental criteria of the “Grüner Knopf”, a national German seal for sustainably manufactured textiles.

The retail divisions also apply the highest standards of sustainability to its employee uniforms. Since 2016, the cotton work clothes worn by all Kaufland and Lidl store employees worldwide has been produced from organic cotton in accordance with the strict criteria of GOTS, and these textiles will also have the “Grüner Knopf” certification in the future. Moreover, our cotton clothing at Kaufland stores is 100 percent Fairtrade-certified, and this requirement will also be extended to Lidl by the end of 2020.

All raw materials containing cocoa used at Schwarz Produktion for product manufacture are certified not only in accordance with recognized sustainability standards, but also in accordance with the strict requirements of the Lidl Purchasing department.

Procedures for UTZ certification and/or certification in accordance with the Fairtrade cocoa program are also implemented as needed in various production units, and numerous cocoa products – including virtually the entire assortment of ice cream and all chocolate bars – are provided with corresponding seals.

In the manufacture of cocoa-containing products Schwarz Production uses only products certified according to recognized sustainability standards.

Product Safety & Quality

Dr. Katrin Hoenicke, Managing Director, Eurofins Analytik GmbH
Dr. Katrin Hoenicke,
Managing Director, Eurofins Analytik GmbH

Product safety and quality is what we do each day. As experts, we know that defect-free products and clear indications of origin are essential, especially in connection with food products – it’s about nothing less than consumer health and protection from deception. In order to be able to ensure both of these, it is essential for retail companies like the Schwarz Group to be rigorously committed to providing systematic quality assurance at all stages along the food chain.

Here you can find out more about our management approach to product safety and quality

110,486

product analyses carried out for own brands in 2019

Implementation and Measures

Hundreds of tons of fresh fruit and vegetables are delivered each day to our roughly 12,500 Kaufland and Lidl stores around the world. In order to ensure these remain at a consistently high quality, all deliveries are carefully inspected in accordance with standardized processes. We support our pesticide management process by carrying out roughly 86,000 independent chemical product tests each year. We arrange for most tests to be carried out before products are harvested or loaded.

The Schwarz Group pays great attention to safe and high-quality food, drugstore articles and non-food products.

In addition to the results of test reports by neutral samplers and externally accredited laboratories, we also make use of evaluations of the general conditions in our cultivation areas. The followingare just a few more examples of quality assurance measures at our Kaufland and Lidl retail divisions:

  • Defining internal specification values for pesticides which go beyond legal requirements
  • Requiring certification in accordance with Global GAP or QS quality standards from all agricultural providers who supply Kaufland and Lidl
  • Requiring implementation of the additional GRASP module (for social concerns of workers) by all producers of fruits and vegetable for Kaufland and Lidl

Additional information on division-specific approaches and measures can be found in Lidl’s Position Paper on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and in Kaufland’s Transparency Report on Fruit and Vegetables.

Kaufland and Lidl national entities rigorously maintain the quality and safety of the products they sell. For example, Lidl Spain’s quality management system is certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2015 by the AENOR and iQNET standardization and certification companies. Moreover, national companies also carry out regular supplier audits and extensive laboratory testing of their own brand product-lines as well as fruits and vegetables – this also applies to nationally procured own brand products in all Kaufland countries. Lidl Romania also conducts internal audits in its production units which are responsible for food for its own brand product range. 63 audits were carried out over the course of the reporting period. These were in addition to the audits which were carried out by external organizations for the purpose of obtaining IFS or BRC certification required by Kaufland and Lidl by standard for their production plants responsible for food own brand items.

For years, Lidl Austria has been relying on the AMA seal of approval (Agrarmarkt Austria) and related standards for its assortment of fresh meats. The aim of AMA certification is to promote food quality and quality assurance across all stages of production, processing, and retail trade. The concept provides for evaluations on a regular basis. Since 2017 Lidl Austria has been stocking fresh pork with the additional AMA+ modules “better animal welfare”, “special feed”, and “regional origin”.

In order to be able to provide its customers with regional products with outstanding, guaranteed quality and in turn make it possible for smaller producers to sell their products as well, Kaufland Germany also carries out partial audits of its regional suppliers. These audits are carried out before products are listed and then are repeated at regular intervals. Laboratory testing is also provided for in order to monitor these suppliers even more closely.

Customer Health & Conscious Nutrition

Stefan Genth, Secretary General, Handelsverband Deutschland (German Retail Federation)
Stefan Genth,
Secretary General, Handelsverband Deutschland (German Retail Federation)

Conscious nutrition starts with shopping. The food retail sector offers a wide range of different foods, which makes it possible for consumers to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Retailers can make a valuable contribution in this area by reducing the amount of sugar and salt contained in their own brands. Consumer information also plays a key role in this: Appropriate and transparent labelling of products and related information campaigns by retailers can sensitize customers and help them make responsible choices from retailers’ shelves.

Here you can find out more about our management approach to customer health and conscious nutrition

Customer Empowerment:
We will provide our customers with greater transparency on the social, ecological, and health-related impacts of the products we sell by the end of 2025 so that they can make informed decisions. We will implement the conditions necessary for this by 2022.

Kaufland goal
By 2021
20%

reduction of sugar, salt, and fat content on average in more than 300 own brand items

Lidl goal
By 2025
20%

reduction of sales-weighted average content added sugar and salt in the own brand assortment

Implementation and Measures

Kaufland and Lidl initiate and support projects and initiatives around the world which make children and adults aware of making responsible food choices and conscious nutrition.

Both retail divisions and Schwarz Produktion have been gradually reducing added sugar in private label products for many years. To show consumers that it is also easy for anyone to reduce sugar in their everyday lives, Lidl Germany invented the Lidl spoon. The Lidl spoon is intended to raise awareness that it is still possible to enjoy food without giving up taste.

The Lidl spoon supports customers in a healthy diet with less sugar.
With the "5 a day" campaign, Lidl is raising awareness of healthy eating in schools.

Lidl also supports the “5 a Day” campaign through the Lidl Fruit School program. This program uses games under the guidance of qualified nutrition consultants to teach elementary school students in the third and fourth grades how to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their daily diets.

Together with the children, the nutritionists prepare simple dishes that prove they will actually enjoy having fruit and vegetables five times a day. In the 2018/19 school year, the program also included a segment on biodiversity. Roughly 200 elementary school classes across Germany were sensitized in this way in the 2019/20 school year alone, with a total of about 600 school classes and 15,000 students over the past three years.

The concept was also implemented in a similar form in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Spain. Within the past three years, Lidl Spain alone has succeeded in reaching over 190,000 schoolchildren along with their teachers and families through a fruit & vegetable roadshow staged in more than 230 cities and municipalities.

And Kaufland in Poland is currently planning or has already implemented a number of measures such as awareness programs and campaigns based on its product range in order to raise awareness about healthy eating. These measures also include a number of extensive campaigns in print and digital media. Kaufland carries out such campaigns using products from its own brand product range, in particular the ‘‘K-Bio’’, ‘‘K-free’’, and “K-take it veggie’’ lines, to provide tips for a balanced diet – for example through product presentations or recipe ideas. In this way, Kaufland is promoting a healthier lifestyle. To this end, Kaufland in Germany also initiates nutritional action days for schoolchild

As part of the EU school program, Kaufland provides schools and day care centers throughout Europe with fresh fruit and vegetables once a week. In Germany, more than 4,000 children in the greater Heilbronn area alone have been benefiting from a healthier, more varied diet since 2010.

And in Croatia, roughly 40 stores each provide regional fruit and vegetables once a week to a school in the store’s immediate vicinity. As a result, approximately 19,000 schoolchildren received a total of 94 tons of fruit and vegetables in the 2019/20 school year.

Once a week, Kaufland supplies schools and daycare centers in Europe with fresh fruit and vegetables.
In Poland, Kaufland organizes a painting competition in elementary school to promote healthy eating.

Slovakia also began to take part in the program in 2019. The over 60 Kaufland stores in this country have distributed more than 4.5 tons of fruits and vegetables each week to nearby elementary schools since the beginning of the new school year.

Moreover, in 2019 Kaufland Poland tied a painting competition for healthy eating to financial aid for renovating school cafeterias. As a result, ten schools received financial contributions totalling 600,000 PLN (approximately 133,000 euros) from Kaufland.