Colruyt Group is launching a partnership with three beef farming associations

Colruyt Group is continuing its initiatives to shorten supply chains by working directly with three beef farming organisations: En direct de mon élevage, Les Saveurs d’Ardenne and Vlaams Hoeverund. These associations, made up of family businesses, will provide the group with a predefined number of animals each week, based on a set of specifications. Through innovative partnerships, we aim to improve transparency within the supply chain, while reinforcing the quality and sustainability of farms and learning from one another. As the final link in the chain, Colruyt Group hopes to reconnect consumers and producers.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Direct links

Today, Colruyt Group is taking an additional step to shorten its supply chains by launching direct partnerships with beef farmers who belong to producer organisations. The latter are set to become key links in the Colruyt Group supply chain, supplying us with a proportion of their output. In this type of partnership, transport, slaughter and quartering are carried out by service providers. Likewise, each organisation will benefit from its own feed formula.

Stefan Goethaert, director general of Colruyt Group Fine Food: "Some crises give rise to opportunities, and for some time we have been considering a system that would enable us to provide greater transparency in terms of pricing. This is why we approached farmers, through producer organisations. Through these innovative partnerships, we aim to take advantage of their undeniable expertise, increase the independence of these family firms and, literally, forge links with consumers. These three partnerships also represent a learning opportunity, both for the farmers and for ourselves, enabling us to improve the transparency of our supply chain."

3 producer organisations

At this stage, three producer organisations are involved: "En direct de mon élevage" and "Les Saveurs d’Ardenne" in Wallonia, a major beef production region; and the "Vlaams Hoeverund" grouping of Flemish farmers.

The partnership is based on an agreement between the organisations and Colruyt Group to supply a predefined number of animals, meeting quality criteria established in the specifications. This agreement includes various criteria for optimising the partnership, creating a win-win situation. "On one hand, the producer organisations can plan production in order to ensure a steady supply, high quality and timeliness", explains Stefan Goethaert. "And on the other, Colruyt Group offers a promise to purchase a certain number of animals, transparent invoicing and the power to negotiate with various service providers, in order to eliminate factors that harm profitability."

This results in a profitable price for farmers and a better match between supply and demand, not only in terms of quantity, but also quality and sustainability. Laurent Otjaques, breeder and fattener with the organisation "En direct de mon élevage": "For us, it’s a strong signal from Colruyt Group. This partnership enables us to step outside all-in-one distribution chains, gain greater control over our operations and see the fruit of our labour."

"As well as economies of scale, operating within a producer organisation also enables us to improve the quality of our products and share best practices", notes Thierry Dufey, from the recently formed organisation "Les Saveurs d’Ardenne".

Meanwhile, Michiel Deroo of Hoeverund Vlaams notes a closer relationship with the consumer: "By having direct contact with Colruyt Group, we also become closer to the end customers. We can work together in order to meet their needs and let them know about all of the steps our organisation takes to satisfy them."

Agricultural policy

Colruyt Group has already launched several initiatives to support the Belgian agriculture sector, both during periods of crisis (pork, dairy), and through the development of organic supply chains and the choice to favour forward-thinking local supply chains. Colruyt Group aims to forge smart partnerships, establish an ongoing dialogue with its suppliers and take responsibility for the sustainability of products and supply chains. "We are the final link in the chain, before food reaches the customer’s plate", concludes Stefan Goethaert. "This privileged positions enables us to understand our customers’ needs. It also places us in a position to play a major role in improving supply chain sustainability. These latest initiatives in the field of agriculture demonstrate our commitment to fulfilling this role."