Fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet and are a daily staple for our customers. To enable us to supply fruit and vegetables from the most sustainable sources possible, we work closely with various organizations.
When it comes to minimizing environmental impact and improving the living conditions of workers, the key aspects are:
- Careful use of natural resources
- Reduced use of pesticides
- Fair working conditions in the fields
- Efficient processes at packaging stations
Around 50 percent of our fruit and vegetables are Swiss-grown. For imports, we insist wherever possible on fairly traded fruit and vegetables – working closely with Max Havelaar, Switzerland's leading fairtrade organization. We also require our business partners to adhere to minimum social standards for products that are not fairtrade-certified. These are mostly standards such as GRASP (Global G.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice) or BSCI Primary Production
Promoting cultivation that uses fewer resources
The sustainable use of natural resources such as water and soil is a key environmental consideration when growing fruit and vegetables. First and foremost, we promote organic cultivation, which does not use synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. For our conventionally grown products, we try to reduce the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
We have adopted the Pesticides Guideline, which requires the responsible use of pesticides, and we actively support our suppliers with the implementation of improvement measures. In this vein, we have begun a number of projects to promote the use of compost and organic pest control. This is conducive to biodiversity and exposes flora and fauna to fewer pesticides.
One important standard for the responsible use of resources is GlobalGAP which, as well as food safety aspects, also promotes good agricultural practice. We require all our producers to be certified to Global G.A.P. or Swiss G.A.P.
Responsible use of water
One of the key issues affecting the cultivation of fruit and vegetables is water. To ensure the sustainable use of water among our producers, in partnership with the WWF and Global G.A.P. we have devised our own water standard, which we implement at producers in water-critical countries and regions. We work with independent auditing companies, which audit the implementation of our water standard at the farms. In all the standards, the independence of the auditing companies is essential in order for us to recognize them.
Ünique – crooked cucumbers and three-legged carrots
Since 2013, to reduce food waste, we have been selling oversized, unusually small and misshapen specimens of various types of fruit and vegetables under the Ünique brand. Around 3 to 10 percent of the fruit and vegetable harvest cannot be sold, or is difficult sell in the conventional way, because it is misshapen, the wrong size or weather-damaged.
Ünique benefits our suppliers and our customers, to whom we are able to offer seasonal products at attractive prices.
Traceable back to the field
Thanks to Bio Suisse's bud guidelines, we are able to guarantee full traceability of our organic Naturaplan products right back to the field. The Naturaplan-ID shows you the farm from which our organic fruit and organic vegetables originate. Our conventional range of fruit and vegetables comes from certified cultivation in accordance with SwissG.A.P. or GlobalG.A.P. Consequently, we are also able to trace these products directly to the individual producer.
Multi Bag: Reusable bag for fruit and vegetables
The Multi Bag, available in our supermarkets, is a true innovation. The reusable bag for fruit and vegetables is made from FSC-certified cellulose, bears the Oecoplan label and is recommended by the WWF. It is made from the cellulose fibre modal, which is manufactured from FSC-certified beech wood chips. The Multi Bags can be used again and again, making them an environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable plastic bags.