Supermarkets can contribute to a better world by selling and advertising products that are good for society and the planet. There are a number of supermarkets in the Netherlands that are working on sustainability. For example, sustainable supermarkets such as Albert Heijn, Ekoplaza, and Marqt. In this blog, you will read about these sustainable supermarkets in the Netherlands, and an alternative: Bulk shops.
- Albert Heijn
- An alternative: Bulk shops
Albert Heijn is considered the sustainable frontrunner among Dutch supermarkets. According to the Consumers' Association, at Albert Heijn an average of 1.2% of all food and drink promotions per leaflet is organic. On the contrary, organic products are often excluded from promotions in the leaflets. Such as 'all AH Gouda cheese in slices, excluding organic'. Customers with AH Premium (a subscription for €12 a year) do get 10% discount on the entire organic range.
Albert Heijn fights against food waste, and has therefore created the AH overblijvers for consumers. With the AH overblijvers, you can buy products in a special box that are almost expired and would otherwise be thrown away. Read more about the AH overblijvers in op de AH website. At the supermarket, you can choose between packaged and unpackaged fruit. Albert Heijn also sells bread/fruit bags that you can reuse. Albert Heijn has a range of more than 1,000 products that are free of plastic packaging.
Daarnaast heeft Albert Heijn ook een blockchain technologie waarmee je de informatie over de productie keten van het AH eigen merk voor eieren kunt traceren. Nu ben je natuurlijk benieuwd, en denk je misschien “Hoe kan ik deze informatie vinden?”. Het is heel simpel. Elk AH ei heeft een eigen code dat je kunt intypen op www.check-je-ei.nl. Zo kan je vinden wanneer het ei is gelegd en welke route het heeft gevolgd voordat jij hebt gekocht. Daarnaast hebben alle AH eieren ten minste een '1 Beter Leven ster'. Dat houdt in dat de kippen vrij kunnen scharrelen. Wil je meer weten over het Beter Leven keurmerk? Lees er hier meer over.
In addition, Albert Heijn also uses blockchain technology that allows you to trace information about the production chain of the AH own-brand eggs. Now you are naturally curious, and may be thinking "How can I find this information?". It's quite simple. Each AH egg has its own code that you can type in at www.check-je-ei.nl. So you can find when the egg was laid and what route it took before you bought it. In addition, all AH eggs have at least a '1 Beter Leven ster' (Better Life star). This means that the hens can roam freely. Would you like to know more about the Beter Leven hallmark? Read more about it here.
The most well-known organic and sustainable supermarket in the Netherlands is Ekoplaza. Ekoplaza is known as a 100% organic supermarket. They take animal welfare and the environment very much into account. Therefore, Ekoplaza is the perfect shop to do your sustainable shopping without wondering whether the product is actually organic. Want to know more about how you can shop sustainably? Feel free to read our 5 tips for sustainable grocery shopping.
Ekoplaza also sells baby and pet food made from pure ingredients which you cannot find in a regular supermarket. You can also buy different kinds of grains, kernels, nuts, seeds, and sweets in bulk at Ekoplaza. So you can tap your desired amount yourself! You can bring your own container to avoid unnecessary packing. What is also taken into consideration at Ekoplaza is the consumption of red meat. Red meat is advertised less at Ekoplaza which is also better for your health because less red meat is consumed as a consequence.
A lot of efforts are being made to tackle the plastic problem at Ekoplaza. In fact, Ekoplaza is the first supermarket with a 100% plastic-free range. Ekoplaza's goal is to be as packaging-free as possible by 2025. You don't have to look far to find Ekoplaza. There are 85 Ekoplaza supermarkets all over the Netherlands!
Marqt is a supermarket chain offering a selection of organic, local and sustainable products. They focus on waste reduction by offering unpackaged products and encouraging customers to bring their own reusable packaging. Marqt's goal is to make healthy and sustainable food accessible to everyone at a well-deserved, fair price.
Marqt can be found in Amsterdam, The Hague and Heemstede. Don't forget to bring your debit card. It is not possible pay with cash at Marqt. Paying by debit card is less harmful to the environment than paying with cash. According to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the environmental impact of a debit card payment is equivalent to leaving a low-energy light bulb on for an hour and a half. For a cash payment, it is two hours.
These supermarkets are just a few examples of the options of sustainable supermarkets available in the Netherlands. By choosing to shop at these supermarkets, you can support sustainable practices and reduce your own impact on the planet.
What can supermarkets do to become more sustainable?
Supermarkets can take many different measures to become more sustainable. For example, they can reduce their packaging by offering more bulk items, or offer organic products that require less packaging material. They can also invest in renewable energy sources to reduce their energy consumption, or offer discounts on products that are eco-friendly. Supermarkets can also improve their waste policy by reducing their waste, or participate in programmes for recycling and reusing products.
En alternative: Bulk shops
Bulk shops ensure you buy by the quantity you think you need. This way, you avoid food waste. Below are examples of bulk shops in the Netherlands.
Delicious food is a zero-waste supermarket in Amsterdam that offers bulk products and encourages customers to bring their own reusable containers to reduce waste. The shop has been around since 2002 and started as a family-run business. The selection consists mainly of products with a longer shelf life. Gluten-free choices are available and is therefore also recommended for people with gluten allergies who are interested in bulk shopping!
Little plant pantry
Little plant pantry has been around since 2019 and is the first plastic-free shop in Amsterdam. They offer organic food ingredients with no or minimal packaging and collaborate with local artisan food producers. The shop sells products mostly loose without packaging in bulk form, including oils, sweet syrups, spices, vegan cheeses, fermented foods, etc. You can buy as much or as little as you want.
The prepackaged goods use only eco-friendly packaging, including ready-to-eat meals to take away. They also have an online shop that is only available in Amsterdam, making deliveries by bike!
In short, shopping at sustainable supermarkets and bulk shops can have a positive impact on the environment, animal welfare, your health and society as a whole. Incidentally, sustainable supermarkets are often engaged in supporting charities and other social initiatives. By shopping at these supermarkets, you indirectly contribute to these initiatives.