6th generation Staffordshire farmers R & RW Bartlett have announced an expansion and eco-friendly investment in the production of carrot and parsnip crops, which the company says has been made possible due to the confidence provided by Aldi’s ‘clear forecasting.’
As well as buying new cultivation machinery, the investment will go on environmental initiatives such as low energy LED lighting and new waste and water recycling facilities. The company grows more than 8,000 tonnes of root crops a year and says the expansion will create 60 new jobs.
“Working with Aldi has enabled us to continually invest to improve efficiencies, while producing the highest quality veg,” Commercial Manager Laura Bartlett told the Fresh Produce Journal. “Their simple ways of working, close communication and clear forecasting helps us to grow year on year –in terms of our yield, employees and revenue.”
Julie Ashfield of Aldi UK added, “Our approach is to build partnerships with our suppliers that are based on trust and fairness. It’s always good to hear how this helps our farmers to invest back into their land and facilities and we look forward to working with the team in the years to come.”
Photo Caption: Roy and Rod Bartlett
Photo Credit: British Carrots
Discount supermarket Aldi has pledged to help support Red tractor week, with members of the scheme visiting Aldi stores in Bramley, Caerphilly, Enfield, Salford, Cowes and Edgbaston.
Farmers will meet customers and talk about how products are farmed and produced during
Red Tractor Week, which aims to highlight the standards behind the scheme and encourage shoppers to buy Red Tractor-labelled food and back British farmers.
Aldi says it is ‘committed to building long-term relationships’ with farmers, suppliers and growers and was the first supermarket to sign up to the NFU Fruit & Veg Pledge. Tony Baines, Joint Managing Director of Corporate Buying at Aldi, said, “We are proud to be able to offer our customers high quality, Red Tractor assured products, which recognise the best of British.
“We look forward to welcoming Red Tractor farmers to our stores to share their knowledge and experience with our consumers, and also to reinforce the fact that you don’t have to break the bank to buy responsibly sourced, quality food products.”
Photo Caption: Aldi is supporting Red Tractor Week
Photo Credit: Aldi
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Aldi UK is to review its policy towards crop protection products with a particular emphasis on the use of neonicotinoids. According to the company, ‘The aim of this review is to establish an Aldi UK position on pesticide usage that will take our approach beyond the status quo, particularly in relation to pollinators.’
Campaign group Friends of the Earth said that the company had been under pressure after its German parent Aldi Süd banned eight pesticides – including three bee-harming neonicotinoids – from their fruits and vegetables following a campaign by Greenpeace Europe. The eight products banned by Aldi Süd are: thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos, clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor.
In the past some unilateral decisions on crop protection by certain retailers have been criticised by those who say it should be left to regulators to decide such matters. However, Friends of the Earth Bees campaigner Dave Timms said, “This review is welcome but Aldi’s new policy must include a strong commitment to keep neonicotinoid pesticides out of the production of its fruit, vegetable and cereals including wheat and oilseed rape.”
Photo Caption: Aldi is reviewing the pesticides that can be used on its produce
Photo Credit: Aldi
Discounter Aldi is continuing to buck the trend of difficult trading conditions in food retail, announcing that plans to open 65 stores this year are ‘on track’.
The German-based company also said it plans to open another 1,000 stores by 2022 and will launch an online offering next year. The company will initially sell cases of wine online, followed by non-food ‘Specialbuys’ later in the year.
In its last financial year Aldi’s sales rose 31% to £6.9 billion in the 12 months to 31 December, compared with £5.27 billion the year before. It is continuing to challenge rivals. Morrisons recently said it would no longer price-match Aldi and Lidl, while press reports suggest Aldi itself will ‘respond to price cuts from competitors with further discounts.’ However the price war is having an effect. Aldi’s operating profits fell by £11 million to £260.3 million in the last calendar year while pre-tax profits also slipped by £10.1 million to £250.6 million.
“We refuse to be beaten on price from anyone. People can buy exactly what they want from us rather than three of an item to qualify for a discount. We don’t bamboozle our customers with promotions,” said chief executive, Matthew Barnes.
The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks ending 29 March 2015, show that Aldi has become Britain’s sixth largest supermarket, beating Waitrose to the slot for the first time.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explained, “Aldi has recorded double-digit sales growth for the past four years and is now Britain’s sixth largest supermarket with 5.3% of the market. Growth has been fuelled by over half a million new shoppers choosing to visit Aldi this year and average basket sizes increasing by 7%. The German discounter’s sales have increased by 16.8% in the latest period, still high compared to other retailers but slower relative to its recent performance.”
The figures show that Lidl and Waitrose were the only other retailers to grow sales ahead of the market and increase their market share in the latest period. Waitrose increased its sales by 2.9% compared with this time last year and now accounts for 5.1% of the grocery market. Waitrose has grown its sales in an unbroken run stretching back to March 2009. Lidl’s 12.1% sales growth moved it up to a 3.7% share of the market.
There was also some good news for Sainsbury’s, which Sainsbury’s which returned to growth this period for the first time since August 2014. Fraser McKevitt added, “The changing structure of Britain’s supermarket landscape is illustrated by two facts. Firstly, the so called discounters Aldi and Lidl now command a combined 9.0% share of the market. In 2012 the same two retailers only accounted for 5.4% of grocery sales. Secondly, the 72.8% share taken by the biggest four retailers is now at the lowest level in a decade.”