Lidl Netherlands has announced it will stop using air freight to supply fresh produce to its 440 stores across the country.
In what the discounter calls an absolute first, the move will see a greater emphasis placed on home-grown fresh produce from a base of trusted growers throughout the Netherlands.
Quirine de Weerd, senior manager of corporate social responsibility and relations at Lidl Nederland, told FCI that customers would hardly notice the change because Dutch-grown fresh produce already occupies a prominent place on the shelves.
Fresh produce which was previously air freighted, including sugar snaps and asparagus tips, will continue to be available, with the company looking into sea freight alternatives.
The discounter’s decision to move away from air freight, which coincides with the Netherlands’ Climate Week, is a vital part of a wider strategy and represents a significant step towards the company’s carbon-neutral ambitions.
Earlier this year, Lidl Sweden announced plans to ban air freight in produce supply. To get the message across, the retail chain uses a memorable visual. Designer Ola Johansson from marketing agency Garbergs monochromatically designed a ‘One by one they stopped flying’ themed poster depicting a range of birds, including an emu and penguin. The end image shows a kiwi fruit with the underlying caption saying ‘stopped flying three months ago’, a genius nod to the kiwi, which is part of a group of flightless birds.
De Weerd says that Lidl currently runs several different marketing campaigns and that there are no plans to copy past from their Swedish colleagues, adding that Lidl Netherlands very much liked the Swedes’ cleverly created marketing effort.
Asked about what the air freight ban may mean for the air-freighted roses from Africa on sale in Dutch Lidl stores, De Weerd says, “Lidl sources its roses globally and these are transported by aeroplane. This situation will remain unchanged.”