Retail

Belgium's Colruyt Uses Bread Waste To Grow Mushrooms

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Belgian retailer Colruyt has announced a partnership with urban farming group ECLO, to use its own bread waste to grow mushrooms.

Following a test period, the first mushrooms grown through this process, including eryngii, oyster mushrooms and shiitake, will go on sale in the retailer's Cru market stores in Overijse, Antwerp and Ghent from mid-October.

City Farm In Brussels

ECLO, formerly known as Le Champignon de Bruxelles, operates a large city farm in Brussels and grows mushrooms and small vegetables locally in a sustainable and circular manner.

Working with the retailer, bread residues from Colruyt are processed into substrate, on which different mushrooms can grow. Once this process is completed, the substrate is used as a fertiliser for gardening, completing the circular process.

"The partnership with Colruyt Group confirms our belief that local entrepreneurship in a circular economy by means of residual flows can be successful”, said Hadrien Velge, co-founder and CEO of ECLO.

Collecting The Bread Waste

The test period commenced a year and a half ago, as ECLO collected bread residue from the Bio-Planet store in Groot-Bijgaarden, which it processed into substrate.

Mushrooms were ready to pick after approximately 10 weeks, and boast a long shelf life – they can be kept for 10 days at a temperature of between 2 and 7 degrees.

"We have been working for quite some time on a way to grow mushrooms on waste streams and are therefore very proud that we managed to realise this project together with our partner ECLO”, commented Anna Gryseels, project leader in the food innovation team of Colruyt Group.

In 2020, bread represented approximately 14% of the group's food surplus, the retailer said.

In July, Colruyt announced a partnership with Robinetto on a sustainable water consumption initiative.

© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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