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04/21/2021

Food Lion’s private brands play role in new sustainability goals

Ahold Delhaize USA’s Food Lion banner is undertaking a new effort in its sustainability push — and putting its private brands in the spotlight.
David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Ahold Delhaize USA’s Food Lion banner is undertaking a new effort in its sustainability push — and putting its private brands in the spotlight. Alongside various sustainability and sourcing transparency goals, the retailer is endeavoring to make more than 48% of private brand food sales come from healthy products by 2025. Other commitments include efforts around transparent sourcing, reduced energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions from the retailer, and waste-elimination efforts across its supply chain. 

“In 2015, we set big goals for ourselves to achieve significant sustainability targets in several critical areas, and I’m proud to say we’ve met or exceeded many of those milestones,” said Meg Ham, president of Food Lion. “However, we know much more work needs to be done, and that’s why we’re holding ourselves accountable for even bigger goals that we hope to achieve by 2025 and beyond. We are committed to sustainability across every part of our business — now and into the future — and we’re making it easier for our customers to join us to create a more sustainable community because we all have a role to play.”

In order to achieve its private brand healthy food sales goal, Food Lion and Ahold Delhaize USA are working with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help increase consumer access to healthier food options, and to publicly disclose the percentage of sales that come from healthier options. The company noted that its Nature’s Promise private brand, currently sold in more than 1,000 stores, features products that use simple ingredients and eschew artificial flavors and preservatives, as well as synthetic colors. The banner also has a proprietary nutrition guidance system called Guiding Stars, meant to help customers make nutrition choices that work best for them. 

Store Brands interviewed Brittni Furrow, VP of health and sustainability at Ahold Delhaize USA a few months ago about some of its broader goals around food transparency, using Guiding Stars and making own brands more sustainable. The retailer's embarking on rolling out 1,500 to 2,000 new store brand items

On the sourcing transparency front, Food Lion and Ahold Delhaize USA will make it easier for consumers to see where their products were produced and sourced by 2025, alongside an effort to be 100% sustainably certified in its palm oil, pulp and paper products and packaging while making advancements in animal welfare and human rights. By 2025 it will have a 100% cage-free egg assortment. 

The company’s private brands have played a key role in its focus on transparent sourcing. In 2019, Ahold Delhaize USA and its Retail Business Services division, which develops private brand products for the company’s banners, and Food Lion committed to restricting certain chemicals in products and packaging while working with suppliers to ensure private brand products meet high ingredient standards and focus on root causes of contaminants. The company also recently committed to a transparent GMO labeling option, and before a federal deadline of Jan. 1, 2022, all private brand products will have a Bioengineered Food disclosure. 

“Our neighbors deserve to know where their food comes from and that it contains ingredients they trust,” Ham said. “We are passionate about providing our customers with products they have confidence in and that fit their dietary needs and lifestyle, from farm to table, sea to store.”

In terms of reducing the company’s footprint, Food Lion is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions from its own operations by 50% by 2030 and working with suppliers to help reduce supply-chain emissions by 15%.