Belgian retailer Delhaize has changed its name to 'Belhaize' for a period of a month, to pay tribute to the 1,600 Belgian suppliers that support its operations, the group said in a statement.
The Ahold Delhaize-owned retailer said that demand for Belgian products increased by more than 15% last year, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, while around 70% of the range in a typical Delhaize outlet is of Belgian origin.
The move also follows on from a Fairtrade survey last year in which more than two fifths (42%) of Belgian shoppers indicated that they wanted to consume products that were sourced 'more locally' in the future.
"The 32,000 employees of Belhaize and I would like to thank our 1,600 Belgian producers for their passion, the excellent quality and the taste of their products that our customers can enjoy every day," commented chief executive Xavier Piesvaux.
"We are proud of the cooperation we have with every one of them. [...] Every day, our buyers are committed to setting up new partnerships with local producers, or to further expand existing partnerships "
The group said that it purchases around €3 billion worth of Belgian products per year, while also supports dozens of local entrepreneurs across the country in gaining retail listings.
Further to its temporary name change, the retailer plans to launch a partnership with LocalTea this coming September, which will see it establish a tea plantation in Loenhout in Belgium, an industry first according to the retailer.
During the month of May, Belhaize will promote its local suppliers throughout its stores, on its websites and in all its media, while also temporarily changing some of its packaging.