German retailer REWE has introduced QR codes to its bananas, which enable customers to check both the sustainability of the product and where it comes from.
REWE is the first major food retailer in Germany that makes it possible to track its own-brand bananas back to their producer group, and the retailer said that it has helped to improve living, working and environmental conditions by being involved in community initiatives in grower countries.
Furthermore, customers also receive individual information about the product, including, for example, the standards under which the fruits have been produced.
The role model for new REWE initiative was the Platanera Rio Sixaola farm in Costa Rica, whose bananas are purchased by REWE.
The plantation owner, Volker Ribniger, and his team ensure that production is carried out as socially and ecologically as possible.
Now, bananas under the labels 'REWE Beste Wahl' and 'REWE Bio' feature a sticker that contains a QR code. With this code customers can visit a website that provides information about the banana's plantation.
Customers also get to know which awards the farms hold, or what sustainability projects they are engaged in.
"The production areas for bananas often have low social and ecological standards", said Hans-Jürgen Moog, who is responsible for purchasing at REWE.
For this reason, REWE puts emphasis on selecting the banana suppliers that are committed to livelihood security and sustainable development in keeping with the REWE Pro Planet concept.
"But our aim is even more comprehensive", Moog added. "We want to initiate a structural change process towards fair, social, ecological and future-proof banana production."
Elsewhere, Eugenio Guidoccio, the leader of the fruit and vegetables business unit at REWE Group Buying, said, "We can argue that our own brands have the most sustainable banana assortment in the German food retail."
REWE Group is an active member of the World Banana Forum and is also involved in joint projects for occupational safety and living wages.
REWE has founded a Central America Fund to finance local projects in grower countries in Central and South America. The focus of these projects is on education and youth work, medical care, drinking water infrastructure and biodiversity.
The selection criteria for the projects were made by representatives of local non-governmental organisations, the German Association for International Cooperation and the REWE Group.
Currently, there are 17 projects running and 13 are approved.
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Jana Zimmermann. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine