Spar driving ahead with local sourcing and sustainability initiatives

Present in 48 countries around the world, Spar is aware of its responsibility when it comes to sustainability and responsible food retailing.
Mon 03/07/2023 by By Pierre Escodo
Despar Italy is developing its organic range.
Spar South Africa supports local producers.
Spar Austria local producer of fresh herbs Michael Strillinger

Spar acknowledges its duty to support social and environmental prosperity in the markets it operates in. Through various initiatives across its network, Spar is driving its ‘Better Together’ philosophy, taking steps to bring tangible benefits to local communities. The focus on sourcing locally is aligned with Spar’s core value of community involvement.

Local sourcing

For example, Spar Hungary has created a new partnership programme, ‘Regional Treasures’, for small-scale domestic producers and businesses. As part of this, Spar Hungary is investing €4.75 million to integrate at least 100 new suppliers and increase employment opportunities. Since 2021, the firm has already established six regional supplier centres in major cities across the country. Elsewhere, Spar Netherlands has been ahead of the curve in committing to supporting local primary producers. For example, in an agreement with bakery co-operative Top Bakers, Spar partners with over 42 local bakers. In Northern Ireland, Spar sources 78% of its fresh food sold in stores locally, whilst, in Scotland, Spar highlights that over 50% of the products sold in-store are sourced in Scotland. Spar South Africa has a supplier development programme which helps micro and small-scale food suppliers become fully compliant in their delivery of food-based products to Spar stores. The programme ensures these suppliers have the necessary tools, knowledge and access to industry specialists to help grow their businesses.

Sustainable packaging

With the focus of the circular economy on reducing, reusing, and recycling, Spar’s drive to redesign packaging has gained increased importance. Innovations include Spar Austria’s recent introduction of eco-friendly packaging for organic potted herbs that are made from 100% recycled material. The casing of the herbs, which was previously made of plastic, has now been replaced by paper. Spar Austria has also converted the packaging of the Spar Natur*pur Blumauer organic cherry tomatoes, two varieties of Spar Premium cherry tomatoes and Spar branded Austrian midi vine tomatoes to 100% cardboard. Spar Norway is leading the way with an in-store recycling programme which offers customers the opportunity to participate in a lottery game whilst returning their empty bottles and cans. Customers taking part in the lottery can win up to €100,000, with most of the proceeds going to the Red Cross, Spar Norway’s charity of choice.

Private label

Through Spar’s private label products, the retailer is ensuring its customers enjoy fresh and varied products that cater for their local needs. In Spar South Africa, private label lines of “Spar Freshline” and “Spar Bakery” have over 800 fresh produce and bakery items. In Slovenia, Spar offers the “Spar Enjoy” range of quick and easy fresh meals for customers on a lunch break or on the go. In Italy, 16 private label ranges bring over 4,500 products to consumers and these continue to grow in popularity. Spar Switzerland has been increasing access for shoppers of plant-based alternative products, such as burger patties, energy bars and snack packs. Meanwhile, within the “Spar Natural” range, its customers can access organic and sustainable products.

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