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Polish retailer Piotr i Paweł enters into cooperation with Spar Group 


Successful cooperation between retailers guarantees good profits, further development and increased brand awareness.


Retailer Piotr i Paweł is to join forces with the Spar Group Ltd. As in previous seasons, the retailers are developing their F&V segment so that every customer visiting their stores can find the tastes they are seeking. “In autumn 2019, in line with our new slogan ‘Inspirations’, we promoted a selection of produce, such as red grapefruit from Turkey, pineapple from Costa Rica, and Polish potatoes in various colours. We also promoted our products with the logo ‘Always Quality’ and offered many organic products,” said Tomasz Syller, managing director of Spar. Piotr i Paweł is also well-known for the high-class products that clients can find at its stores across the whole country. 

Joining forces
to reach a bigger target 

Spar has 70 shops in 65 towns in Poland but is planning to increase the number of outlets to 150 by the end of 2020. The average sales area is 1,100 m², with an assortment of 37,000 articles. The number of own-label products has increased to 1,200 items in the various categories. Once Piotr i Pawel joins forces with Spar Group Ltd., both retailers will be better placed to compete against other retailers by offering products that are often unavailable in the Polish market and at lower prices. “Fruits and vegetables account for about 8% of all our products. In 2019 up to November, our fruit and vegetables sales were worth over 120 million zlotys,” said Tomasz Syller, who states that in Poland, there is a trend to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, especially among young and middle-aged professionals. “Moreover, we are trying to offer our customers lesser known vegetables, like topinambur or pitahaya. We’ll sell these rarities in many of our outlets in various regions of our country,” said Syller.

Great potential will be generated by the partnership between Piotr i Paweł and Spar Group Ltd. “Our main target is to supply come over €11 million worth of products each year by making our shops more attractive for our customers. We now plan to build new markets in medium-sized towns. In Warsaw alone, we have five supermarkets and we plan to open new ones,” said Syller.

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Making sustainability more than a buzz word

Environmental experts say the expected growth in vegetable consumption offers opportunities to make the food chain more sustainable.

Sustainability is hot, with many companies showing an increasing interest in efforts to sustain the food chain. But the term is used so often it has become a container concept without a clear outline.

“Sustainability has not been defined,” says Gert Engelen of VECO, a Belgian-based organisation that creates an enabling environment for smallholder farmers, “it is an evolving concept.”

Marc Soumillion of Res Sense, an organisation integrating commitment, innovation and experience, listed six components of sustainability: interdependence, incorporation, innovation, insight, integration and integrity.

Speaking at the “Tomatoes, trends towards 2020″ conference in Antwerp in April, as was Engelen, he stressed that a balance in the three P’s (planet, people, profit) is key.

Both Engelen and Soumillion agree that the fresh produce sector has all the right starting points. “The sector is a very good sector for sustainability,” Engelen said. He thinks the expected growth in vegetable consumption offers more opportunities to make the food chain more sustainable.

Thanks to renewed interest in and enjoyment of good nutrition, “times have never been so favourable in food,” Soumillion said.

Yet there are hurdles to overcome. Engelen highlighted the awkward position of producers at the base of the chain and mentions them to be the weakest link in the chain. Unstable and low prices, job complexity and a heavy workload are factors keeping potential future farmers away from the job, among factors posing “a realistic risk for the future of the food supply,” he said.

Consumer benefits and communication

Many recommendations have been made on how to make the food chain future proof and ensure a balanced distribution of expenses and benefits, ranging from pre-competitive cooperation via transparency to level playing fields.

One thing, however, is very clear, the consumer should be the focal point. Since a more sustainable product usually involves a higher price, the consumer’s needs and wants should be responded to.

Soumillion said that meeting people’s three need states – rational, emotional and societal – compounds the benefits for brands and delivers real business value. But he warned against confusing the normalisation of processes and product quality with the adding of true value and meaningful consumer benefits.

“You have to translate what you do in consumer benefits,” Soumillion said.

Communication is very important to this process. Engelen emphasised that it is very hard for the consumer to know which product is sustainable. He sees a role for authorities and companies to inform consumers more effectively.

Moreover, he thinks that when more information is shared with consumers throughout the food chain, they will be more understanding, which would be a useful step towards a more sustainable food chain.


Background Image of rucola courtesy of KaboomPics