Although a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea share many similarities, their production is quite different.The majority of the world’s coffee is grown on small farms, by farmers who sell only a small number of bags of coffee annually, while most of the world’s tea is produced by millions of hired workers tending to tea shrubs on large plantations. For both, earning a decent income can be difficult. The two crops are vulnerable to a changing climate, where erratic droughts and rainfall can lead to lower yields. At times this leads to worker exploitation and poor living conditions in the sector.
A way of improving the sector is by developing good agricultural practices that support the reduced use of pesticides and fertilizers, which usually result in higher yields leading to better incomes. Ahold Delhaize brands aim to source exclusively 100% sustainably certified own brand coffee and tea products, complying with either UTZ, Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade Standards. These standards are focused on improving yields, increasing farmer incomes and decreasing the risk of climate change and socials risks, such as child labor.
In Europe, we work closely with our own trade channel, the Ahold Delhaize Coffee Company, to source 100% certified coffee beans and subsequently to process them into a number of our own-brand coffee portfolio's. This will ensure that all the own brand coffee originates from well managed farms and plantations with better social and environmental conditions.
During 2021 99% of own-brand products containing tea were certified against an acceptable standard and 97% of own-brand coffee products were certified against an acceptable standard.