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13 August 2019

PENNY introduces QR codes to improve traceability of pineapples and organic bananas


Mark-of-origin labelling an important purchasing consideration for more and more consumers

Pineapples and organic bananas with qr codes

According to a survey published by the European Food Safety Authority in June this year, 53 percent of EU citizens surveyed said that the question of where a food comes from is a relevant factor in their purchasing decisions. This indicates that a food’s origin is more important than its cost (51%), safety (50%) or taste (49%).

PENNY was quick to pick up on this trend and is gradually introducing more detailed product and origin information, especially for its own brands. As of Monday (19 August), all pineapples will be sold with a QR code. Customers can use this to access a special website where they will find detailed information about the respective plantation as well as its sustainability activities, audits or awards. And from 9 September, Naturgut organic bananas will also be sold with this QR code (www.penny.de/herkunft).

PENNY customers, for example, will discover that pineapple supplier Tropicales del Valle from San Carlos (Costa Rica) is a family business. The finca is located in the province of Alajuela which primarily grows pineapples, alongside sugar cane and coffee. The company sold around 3.5 million boxes of pineapples last year and employs 364 people, 60 of whom are women. The company is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, GLOBAL G.A.P and GRASP. PENNY customers can also read an illustrated account of how Tropicales del Valle has voluntarily placed 150,000 square meters of rainforest located on the finca under protection. The website also provides general information on PENNY’s commitment to sustainability (including REWE Group’s Central America Fund) and its quality seals.

“We want our customers to be able to trust both us and our products. By introducing the QR code, we are showing that we are aware of our social and environmental responsibility in the supply chain. Customers who buy pineapples and bananas from us can do so with confidence and with a clear conscience, because we attach great importance to how we select our partners. Examining their ecological and social credentials is part and parcel of this process,” explains Stefan Magel, REWE Group Board Member for Retail Germany and COO of PENNY.

The REWE Group commitment

In addition to certifications and standards, the REWE Group also runs its own projects to tackle challenges along the supply chain. One area in which the REWE Group is active, for example, is in improving environmental and social conditions for pineapple and banana cultivation in Central America. To this end, between 2013 and 2018, the REWE Group Central America Fund raised 3.5 million euros to support the project, which has been up and running in the pineapple-growing regions since 2018. The fund is aimed at local organisations, which can apply for funding for their project ideas in the form of tenders. GIZ, the German Corporation for International Cooperation, is responsible for coordinating project applications and monitors running of the projects on the ground. The measures are complemented by stringent production requirements. For example, all banana and pineapple growers whose products are sold by REWE Group in Germany must be certified by the Rainforest Alliance or certified organic growers to ensure their compliance with social standards and environmental requirements.

In 2018, PENNY’s around 2,180 stores and more than 28,000 employees generated turnover of 7.6 billion euros in Germany alone.