The Netherlands is all green innovation and windmills, right? Although the country generally scores high on overall sustainability rankings, new research shows that Dutch supermarkets are not implementing their sustainability goals.
The Questionmark foundation is an independent research institution that investigates supermarkets in the Netherlands. Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi, Plus, Dirk, Coop, and Ekoplaza were all part of the round-up in their latest half-yearly publication. The results were…disappointing, to say the least.
Falling short on promises
Dutch supermarkets have promised to make eco-friendly grocery shopping easier for consumers. This includes offering more organic food, using less plastic packaging, promoting less red meat, and paying more attention to where their products come from.
However, RTL Nieuws reports that things which the supermarkets promised to do aren’t being implemented.
In fact, only Ecoplaza and Albert Heijn seem to be on the right track. Ecoplaza gets credit for having very little meat in its brochures, while Albert Heijn is acknowledged for its transparency about the origin of its products. Albert Heijn is also celebrated as one of the only supermarkets which “provides important insights into the origin and sale of (un)sustainable products.”
Sustainability sinner: red meat
We get it, who doesn’t love a good steak? Summer BBQs are finally be around the corner, but if you were planning on having a steak, then you might want to consider this: red meat has the biggest ecological footprint of all animal products.
Therefore, the Questionmark foundation would like to see less meat advertised by the supermarkets. However, supermarkets promote red meat in 92% of their advertising brochures. 😬
Getting rid of discounts?!
Dutchies want to eat less meat but they also love a good bargain. Seeing red meat in the supermarket discount is therefore not helpful in the quest to consume fewer animal products.
According to Rob van Tilburg from Nature and Environment, “we challenge supermarkets to make a more plant-based diet the new normal. Concrete goals and stopping stunt prices for meat are the first steps.” He believes that supermarkets should take more responsibility for the choices they offer consumers.
Where’s the results?
In 2019, Dutch supermarkets promised to use less plastic packaging. However, only seven or eight actually made any effort towards fulfilling this promise.
According to RTL Nieuws, Albert Heijn is the only supermarket that provides concrete numbers about its use of plastic packaging. The supermarket giant can brag of having reduced its plastic use by almost 7% over the last few years.
Response from the Dutch association of supermarkets
The association agrees that it’s necessary to make a transition towards a more sustainable food supply. It emphasises that “significant steps” have been taken over the past years to make the food chain more sustainable. The association “does not recognize itself” in the claims about insufficient promotion of sustainable grocery shopping.
What do you think about the sustainability of Dutch supermarkets? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: Anna Shvets/Pexels