REWE Group has announced an initiative with Naturland to help farmers transition from conventional to organic farming, thereby increasing the range of organic fruit and vegetables offered in its stores.
According to the retailer, customers are seeking fruit and vegetables that are free of pesticides and have a natural taste. For farmers, however, converting to organic farming is an expensive process, particularly in the first few years.
Moreover, during this conversion phase they are not allowed to label their products as 'organic.'
REWE and Naturland intend to help this process by ensuring that produce from fruit and vegetables farms that are in the second year of transition are marketed as Wegbereiter (pioneers).
Farmers can refinance part of their conversion costs from the additional revenue generated by the sales of these 'pioneer' products.
Bavarian REWE stores have introduced the first Wegbereiter products, sourced from the Kügel asparagus farm in Abensberg. The farm, which grows asparagus and berries, is in the process of converting to organic farming.
Naturland supports farms by offering advice throughout the conversion phase and responding to farmers’ individual questions and concerns. In addition, Naturland ensures compliance with the standards from day one.
"If we as a society want to make a sustainable contribution to ecological transformation, we have to support farms willing to convert during the economically difficult phase," said Stephan Weist, purchasing manager for fruit and vegetables and flowers at REWE.
"Together with Naturland, we have developed a simple, innovative and useful accelerator with the REWE Naturland Pioneer Programme that supports the transformation to organic farming, but also offers consumers security and transparent added value."
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© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest fresh-produce news. Article by Robert McHugh. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.