QUINCY, Mass., Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ahold Delhaize USA, the parent company of leading omnichannel grocery retailers Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop, today unveiled new health and sustainability goals as part of a detailed, purpose-driven strategy to enable customers to make healthier choices, create greater product transparency, eliminate waste and taking bold climate action, all in support of developing a more sustainable food supply chain.
The new goals are announced as research is showing that consumers are demanding healthier, more transparent product options. In fact, Ahold Delhaize USA proprietary research found that 43% of consumers feel sustainability is “extremely important,” up from 28% of consumers pre-pandemic.
“The past year has truly been an unprecedented time for food retailers. But what has remained unchanged is our commitment to delivering for consumers whenever, wherever, however they want to shop,” said Kevin Holt, Chief Executive Officer of Ahold Delhaize USA. “Food – and how consumers shop for it – has far-reaching impact. As food retailers, we recognize that our role in the food supply chain comes with great responsibility. Our expansive network means we can make a real and positive impact on local communities and our planet. That’s why we’ve committed to these goals – to hold ourselves accountable to the customers we serve and our world.”
Ahold Delhaize USA is committed to ongoing sustainability work and will release additional goals and plans for 2030 and beyond to build on these commitments.
Ahold Delhaize USA and its local brands are striving to support consumers in making healthier choices, starting with education. The proprietary nutrition guidance system, Guiding Stars, is a program that helps consumers understand how much nutrition comes from a food product. As each of the local brands offers food to meet personalized health and lifestyle choices, Guiding Stars is leveraged to make nutritious choices easy and convenient.
When it comes to product choice, Ahold Delhaize USA and its local brands aim to have 54% of private brand food sales come from healthy sales by 2025.
To support this ambition, Ahold Delhaize USA recently announced a partnership with Partnership for a Healthier America through which it will increase access to healthier food options for consumers and publicly disclose the percentage of sales from healthier options. The announcement marks the largest pledge to increase healthier food sales and transparency from a grocery retailer in the United States.
Greater transparency is key because consumers deserve to know where their food comes from and that it contains ingredients they trust. Ahold Delhaize USA is committed to developing a program that enables consumers to shop based on personal preferences such as using less plastic, ensuring humane treatment of animals, finding products free of chemicals of concern and much more. Ahold Delhaize USA aims to help lead the industry in traceability and is focused on driving clear transparency in the supply chain.
By 2025, Ahold Delhaize USA will enhance the information provided about where products come from, beginning with fresh produce and meat. Ahold Delhaize USA will expand its current progress to sustainably sourced seafood, coffee and tea to be 100% sustainably certified in cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper products and packaging and making key advances in animal welfare and human rights.
Ahold Delhaize USA is partnering with HowGood to bring customers an easy-to-use environmental and social impact rating system. HowGood analyzes each ingredient against environmental and social criteria, including farming practices, treatment of animals, labor conditions and chemical use. Any product that receives one, two or three leaves is one of the most sustainable products on the market. The more leaves a product has, the more sustainable it is, making it easy for customers to make informed choices when they shop. Giant Food, The GIANT Company and Stop & Shop began to offer the rating system to customers shopping online this week.
Ahold Delhaize USA also recently committed to the most transparent GMO labeling option to make it easier for consumers to understand what is included in the products they love. All private brand products will have clear on-pack Bioengineered Food disclosure well ahead of the Federal Bioengineered labeling deadline of January 1, 2022. Ahold Delhaize USA also maintains robust animal welfare guidelines, grounded in the five freedoms of animal welfare, including requirements for suppliers and issue statements on topics within animal welfare such as cage free eggs, animal testing, growth hormones and more.
Eliminating hunger and food waste are essential to improve the world we’re living in. All Ahold Delhaize USA brands are Feeding America affiliates and are collectively committed to donate two billion meals through food rescue programs and donations. Ahold Delhaize USA’s local brands have a network of more than 2,000 stores and distribution centers across more than 20 states, which enables the companies to make a meaningful impact on reducing waste and eliminating hunger in local communities.
By 2025, Ahold Delhaize USA is committing to reduce food waste by 32% and 50% by 2030. Ahold Delhaize USA will continue work toward Zero Waste by achieving 90% waste diversion. Additionally, by 2025, Ahold Delhaize USA will seek to reduce overall use of problematic single use plastics. This includes making private brand products 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable and increasing recycled content by 25% by 2025.
As a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, Ahold Delhaize USA and its local brands are signatories to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and move from single-use to reuse packaging models. Ahold Delhaize USA brands are also participants in the Beyond the Bag initiative, a multi-year collaboration across retail sectors that aims to identify, test and implement innovative new design solutions. Furthermore, Ahold Delhaize USA companies have also announced innovative supply chain technologies that through enhanced forecasting capabilities will reduce waste by better predicting demand and supplying only the right amount of products to stores and ecommerce distribution points.
Taking Bold Climate Action
Whether it’s through procuring and developing renewable energy, improving the energy efficiency of facilities, moving toward more climate-friendly refrigerants, further reducing refrigerant leaks or improving transportation and logistics efficiency, Ahold Delhaize USA companies are committed to reducing the absolute emissions from our business. Additionally, we have committed to working with our suppliers to reduce emissions from farm to fork.
In 2020, Ahold Delhaize released science-based targets and time-bound goals for 2030. Ahold Delhaize USA is committed to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent from its own operations by 2030, while working with suppliers to reduce emissions from the supply chain by 15 percent.
In 2019, Ahold Delhaize USA and its local brands signed up for the Science Based Targets initiative to help set climate targets that are in line with the need to reduce carbon emissions.
More information about sustainability at Ahold Delhaize USA can be found on each of the local brands’ websites.
About Ahold Delhaize USA
Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize's U.S. companies, including its local brands, Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop, Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands, and Peapod Digital Labs, its digital and e-commerce engine. When considered together, the local brands of Ahold Delhaize USA comprise the largest grocery retail group on the East Coast and the fourth largest grocery retail group in the nation, operating more than 2,000 stores and distribution centers across more than 20 states and serving millions of customers each week through a uniquely local omnichannel experience.