Tuesday, May 28, 2019
The burgers and spreads made from locally grown soya under the private label Boni Selection Bio are a first for Belgium and the result of an intensive collaboration with four other partners: Simon Colembie (organic farmer from Kruishoutem), La Vie est Belle (producer of vegetarian products in Bruges), Inagro, which provides research and advice services to the agricultural and horticultural sector, and ILVO, the research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food.
"Belgian soya cultivation is still at a relatively small stage and truly pioneering, but we believe in its enormous potential," says Jo Ghilain, business unit manager of Bio-Planet. “After all, a richer local soybean crop offers more possibilities in terms of product innovation for meat substitutes, resulting in a larger and more varied range of products for the consumer. However, in order for local soya cultivation to expand, there must be increased consumer awareness of the nutritional and climate-friendly characteristics of locally grown soya.”
Joke Pannecoucque, soya expert at ILVO, also believes in the potential of local soya. “By growing soya in Belgium, we are less dependent on soya imported from Canada, France, Italy and Eastern Europe. Moreover, soya is in itself a climate-friendly crop. It comes from the legume family, a plant family that controls its own nitrogen supply and therefore requires little extra fertiliser," says Joke Pannecoucque.
Meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular
With the new soya burgers and spreads, Bio-Planet meets the demand for a wider and more diverse range of vegetable meat substitutes. This category has been doing well at Bio-Planet for a long time, with purchases made by around half of Bio-Planet customers. With the introduction of the 2 vegan burgers and 2 spreads based on 100 % Belgian-grown soya, Bio-Planet has introduced even greater variety to this range.
The new products are 100 % vegetable with a Nutri-Score A, with a surprising taste twist thanks to their unique combination with seaweed and sesame. What is special is that the soya beans are processed in their entirety, which is not the case with the soya products already on the market today. This creates a strong bite sensation, as well as making consumers even more aware of the fact that these are fully-fledged soya products. The sales of new burgers and spreads is promising. In just one month, Bio-Planet has already reached 2,000 individual customers. In order to introduce even more customers to homegrown soya products, Colruyt Group will launch 1 soya burger in Colruyt stores and 2 soya spreads in OKay stores next year.
More sustainable with wider Belgian and local offerings
By selling burgers and spreads made from local soya, Bio-Planet is supporting Belgian soya cultivation. This fits in with the strategy of Colruyt Group - and of Bio-Planet in particular - to promote as many local crops as possible and to evolve towards a wider Belgian organic range. Colruyt Group is already strengthening Belgian organic farming through collaborations such as the one with the organic farm De Lochting in Roeselare. Thanks to the financial support provided by Colruyt Group, last year they succeeded in expanding their organic farming land from 35 to 55 hectares.
Bio-Planet has gone one step further by making further investments in expanding the local supply. Currently, a quarter of the total range in every Bio-Planet is already local. In specific terms, this means that some 1,500 products come from local producers within a 25 km radius of each store. "In the future, we certainly aim to continue our focus on this," concludes Jo Ghilain.