How did fruit and vegetable sales go in this second COVID year? What has sold well? And what are the stakes for Christmas? We look back and forward with Kilian De Geyter, Fresh Products Category Manager at ALDI Belgium.
“Buyers appreciate our efforts on fresh produce. It is particularly visible. For example, last year we introduced fresh meat to our stores. And people can buy fruits and vegetables in bulk. It pays off in these times. become a first one-stop shop; a store where you buy all your daily groceries under one roof, ”he begins.
“Our range of fruits and vegetables has grown considerably in recent years. It increased by 20% in 2020 compared to the previous year. We have optimized where it was necessary this year. But we have also added a few products. – baby carrots grown with foliage. And now we offer loose lychees instead of packaged ones. “
New store design
“We also recently introduced a new store design. It’s in our new and renovated stores. The fresh produce aisle (fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and refrigerated convenience) has pride of place. It’s at the front of the store. We want to create a really fresh market experience. The first thing our customers encounter when they walk into a new store is our assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, ”explains Kilian.
“There, we separately display the weekly promotions on fresh produce. A lot of people are shopping when we have fresh produce promotions. This new design means they can grab these items quickly first. By the end of the year, around ten stores will be installed according to this new market experience. Next year, more than 30 new or renovated stores with this new layout are expected to open already.
Who were the notable top sellers and droppers in the produce department? “Some individual guys have done well in the past year. These include Jonagold apples, leaf clementines and bananas. And our buyers loved our effort on convenience. is growing in popularity, ”Kilian replies.
Affordable parties and convenience center at Christmas
“At Christmas, two aspects are highlighted in ALDIs around the world: affordable parties and comfort. First of all, the price-quality aspect will be more crucial than ever for consumers. This is, without a doubt, the strength of ALDI. clear with our end-of-year slogan “Our end of the year, deliciously affordable”. “
“People still think too often that there must be some expensive items on the festive table to deliver quality. Nothing is further from the truth. This is reflected in our Excellence offer. affordable, ”continues De Geyter.
“Belgian consumers should put cookbooks aside this year. They will opt for simple and comforting dishes. Our end-of-year offers bear witness to this. In our Excellence range, we pay more attention to ready meals. It will be more about Excellence ready-to-eat aperitifs. These include snails, salmon croquettes and Christmas tree tarts.
“Our range of fruits and vegetables has been temporarily expanded. It includes ten typical end-of-year products, such as wild mushrooms and pomegranate. We are also temporarily expanding our range of fresh meats. It will have a traditional end of the year. classics like Belgian game. And fondues, gourmet and raclette dishes, with 100% Belgian meat, ”explains Kilian.
“We want to help our customers make smart choices. So we introduced an end-of-year hero: Willie Witloof. This little Belgian chicory undertakes many adventures.
“He knows how to advise buyers at this end of the year period. It is an excellent companion with whom to share the end of the year celebrations. This is because of his many tips, facts and recipes, ”explains Kilian.
“This vegetable usually peaks clearly in December. It’s healthy, fresh, locally grown and festive. All of these benefits come together in one product. So it’s the perfect personification of what ALDI stands for.”
Asked about the evolution of online sales, the category manager replied: “E-commerce is an international project of the ALDI Nord group. This is due to its scale and international implications. So this is not something that we are examining only in Belgium.
“With the increased digitalization of the retail industry, ALDI obviously keeps an eye on e-commerce opportunities. Currently, however, we cannot provide information on if and when ALDI would launch such an offering. “
Kilian says the following about the store’s packaging policy: “We have been having fruit and vegetables in bulk since last year. So we are using many tonnes of plastic less per year. And customers can now decide for themselves how many apples or chicory sprouts they want. They can use our FSC certified paper bags to store their items. These are offered free of charge.
“But of course with every product we always have to critically ask ourselves whether plastic packaging is necessary or not. Here the shelf life and freshness of the products is crucial for us. can guarantee that we offer fruits and vegetables in bulk. “
“We have made considerable efforts in recent years in the organic category as well. Here we take the needs of buyers into account. On the sales side, the range of organic fruits and vegetables is rather complementary to other products. range of fruits and vegetables ”, concludes Kilian.
For more information:
Kilian De Geyter
4 Keer Street
9420, Erpe-Mère, Belgium
Phone: +32 (0) 538 27 917