Carrefour recognises the need to “change its model” and focus on improving the health and sustainability of the foods it offers. To support this ambition, the supermarket operator has implemented what it describes as a “new system of governance” with the appointment of Laurent Vallée as head of food transition and Benoit Soury as organic market director.
Danone joins diverse advisory board
Part of this drive towards a more sustainable business model will see the establishment of an advisory food committee made up of seven people from outside the group. The committee aims to bring together diverse expertise to address the food-related challenges facing the world and it includes the likes of Danone alongside experts on nutrition and agriculture as well as innovative start-ups.
“The committee is chaired by Vallée and will be tasked with supporting Carrefour as it transforms its model, participating in concrete projects linked to the food transition, sharing best practices, proposing new ideas and leading forward-looking discussions about changes in food consumption,” the company said. “It will be an unquestionable asset for Carrefour Group.”
The first meeting will be held in October.
Carrefour’s multidisciplinary food committee includes:
- Lucie Basch, founder of start-up Too Good To Go, who developed an app to tackle food waste by putting retailers in touch with consumers who can then collect unsold stock preventing it from going to waste. According to Carrefour, this Europe-wide community has already saved the equivalent of more than 6 million meals.
- Myriam Bouré, co-founder of Open Food, a cooperative platform built using open-source software to bring together farmers, restaurant owners and citizens to create and operate independent, short distribution channels. Bouré also contributes to Ouishare as a "food connector", acting as a link between various collaborative models aimed at transforming the food system. Through her work, she supports the development of distribution models based on the local consumption of environmentally-friendly products, guaranteeing an equitable distribution of revenue.
- Emmanuel Faber, CEO of French dairy giant Danone. Faber has spearheaded Danone’s ‘One Planet. One Health’ strategy, which includes a focus on sustainable production and good nutrition. “Emmanuel Faber is a key partner who will help us implement the food transition for all,” Carrefour said.
- Jean Imbert is a celebrity chef and restaurateur who is vocal about the need to change people’s dietary habits in France. He encourages people to cook with fresh produce, adapt what they eat depending on the seasons and embrace regional products. He is also convinced that the retail sector has a major role to play in making high-quality food available to the broadest possible number of consumers.
- François Mandin, a Vendée-based farmer, is engaged in mixed-crop farming. For 20 years he has pioneered a type of agriculture that preserves soil.
- Caroline Robert, department head at the Gustave Roussy cancer research institute, is involved – alongside her teams of doctors and clinical researchers – in intense clinical cancer research, from prevention to treatment. “With more and more studies revealing a link between food quality and cancer risks, Caroline Robert has the conviction that a healthy lifestyle – particularly diet – is one of the most effective ways of preventing the disease,” Carrefour said.
- Maxime de Rostolan, founder of Fermes d’Avenir and Blue Bees, is an agri-food expert involved in developing agro-ecology and permaculture. He is also committed to bringing about a new food model which encourages organic farming methods, local supply lines and generates a “virtuous and positive impact” on the whole ecosystem, incorporating human and natural resources into economic rationale.
Act for Food
Stepping up the pace of its food transition, Carrefour also launched Act for Food, a programme of “concrete initiatives for better eating” today (3 September).
“At a time when food safety, product origin and relationships with the agricultural sector have all become key issues, Carrefour has embarked on a series of initiatives to transform its model at a global level so as to tackle these new food challenges and meet consumers' new expectations. With the launch of Act for Food, Carrefour is stepping up the pace on the food transition,” the company said.
In France the group detailed nine commitments under the programme:
- Guarantee 100% French organic for its fresh products under the Carrefour Bio brand
- Ban 100 “controversial substances” from all Carrefour food products
- Reduce or completely end the use of chemical pesticides with its plant product lines
- Reduce or completely end the use of antibiotics in livestock farming
- Guarantee transparency in relation to product traceability using blockchain technology
- Feed the livestock used for its product lines on GMO-free animal feeds
- Double the number of products in its vegetarian range
- Promote biodiversity by selling fruit and vegetables grown from farmers' seeds
- Guarantee a selection of fish sourced using responsible fishing methods and aquaculture
These commitments will be implemented internationally, adapted to meet each country's specific requirements, the retailer said.