The Colruyt Group have launched a bovine branch to cut out the middle-man and pay producers more.
The new branch was announced by Le Soir and De Standaard on Saturday. The company is the biggest distributor in Belgium and it wants to cut out traders and meat wholesalers to buy Belgian blue directly from farmers, who would be grouped into producer organisations.
Three of these organisations, which include 90 family farms (50 in Wallonia, 40 in Flanders) are included in the new branch. Their products will soon represent 10% of the Colruyt Group’s sales of bovine meat.
“We want as much of the money that we pay as possible to go to the farmers. If the price goes up, we can guarantee them a bigger production volume”, Stefan Goethaert and Jean-Christophe Burlet told Le Soir. Mr Goethaert is the head of sustainable development for the Colruyt Group and Mr Burlet is the head of the butchery department.
“This is a positive change, so long as it’s not used for ‘social washing’”, said Emmanuel Grojean, a member of the Producers college. He wants producers to remain independent and have a stable trade relationship.