1. Women in board seats are poorly represented in many companies and sectors. Delhaize Group is committed to supporting diversity and addressing this gender gap, and one of the initiatives toward this goal is a partnership with Belgian organization “Women on Board”. The mission “Women on Board” assigned to itself is to raise awareness, to promote access for women to directorship roles and create a pool of talented executive women who they connect with private and public enterprises.

    In parallel, “Women on board” and Guberna, the leading Belgian organization on corporate governance, have jointly developed a mentorship program whereby an experienced director mentors a female executive during one year on how to be an effective board member.

    By tapping into the wealth of experience of board members of the partnering companies such as Delhaize, through mentoring and training, Women on Board provides members with the unique chance to access company boardrooms and to discover career opportunities.

    Supplying women on boards starts by accelerating the presence of women in high levels of management. At Delhaize, despite not having yet a woman on our Executive Committee, we show a record that is getting stronger, with three Banner President positions – including the most important one – filled by women. Across the organization women represent roughly 51% of our workforce. To put it simply, diversity in our business is a necessity.

    Claire Babrowski is currently Delhaize Group’s sole woman on the board. Let’s hear her point of view on the role of boards in strategy, on the composition of boards and on differences between EU and US boards.

    We were happy to hear Claire say that there is passion in the Delhaize Group Board for the food retail business. This is not by coincidence. The company is genuinely committed to making progress in supporting a workforce and governance that reflect the diversity of our customer base.

    This commitment is directly evidenced by an intense search for women candidates for our board, and more indirectly evidenced by our partnership with “Women on Board”.

  2. In October last year, Alfa-Beta, one of the companies in our group, opened Greece’s first green store in the North of Athens, which incorporated a full suite of innovative technologies that can help reduce energy consumption.

    The use of photovoltaic panels, wind generators for the production of energy, natural openings for ventilation, solar tubes for natural light, low energy consumption refrigeration and cabinets, geothermic systems for heating during winter and cooling during summer and rain water tanks are some of the technologies used that make this store so unique.

    Check out the full suite of state-of-the-art technologies used to ensure the store’s sustainability:

    But apart from its specific design, the materials used for the store’s construction were also particularly friendly to the environment, including marble, wood, and rock blocs instead of asphalt. And the sustainable features don’t end here. At the AB Green Store customers can also find carts and baskets from recycled plastic bottles, an electric car recharge station and a full recycling center complete with recycling tank for cooking oil.

    Watch the video to take a virtual tour of the store:

    One year after its opening, the AB Green Store has consumed up to 35% less energy compared to regular stores, which accounts for 450.000 kWh, which is comparable to the energy consumption of 110 households for one year.

    We, at Delhaize Group, continue to push innovations in green buildings throughout all our markets. Lessons from these projects are being incorporated into our prototype and remodeled plans across the group.

    Have you ever visited one of our green stores?

  3. Do you think a company is only as strong as the communities where it does business? We do.

    Delhaize Group Fund supports 34 projects in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to help residents work together to make their neighborhood or village more livable. The Fund is a partnership between Delhaize Group and the King Baudouin Foundation. The prize-winning initiatives unite residents from different social, cultural and economic backgrounds. They strive for one common goal:  getting to know their neighbors better and feeling good in their community.

    One of the 2010 award winners – Neighborhood orchestras

    Delhaize associates were involved in the selection of winners, choosing to double the amount of financial support provided to “The school in the neighborhood” – a project that encourages kids to learn knitting, cooking, DIY and gardening, by attending workshops in their local school. This broadens their range of extra-curricular interests and improves social cohesion by bringing together parents, kids, partners, neighbors and volunteers.

    The jury awarded special attention to a project that fights prejudice against asylum seekers who are residing in refugee centers in the province of Luxemburg, Belgium. “Come dine with me” is the name, as well as the key message of this initiative. The originality of the project lies in adapting a concept that is well-known to sections of the population that are socially and culturally distanced from each other. There is also the symbolism of welcoming strangers into your home with the trust and open mindedness that is involved. The initiative leads to warmth and friendliness in the short term (during the meal) but also in the long term by reducing prejudices about asylum seekers and their aims.

    Whether it’s through music, food, photography, construction, writing or other creative activities, all 34 winners will use the funding to help create a stronger sense of community locally, where it matters the most.  Click here to read more about this year’s award winners and about previous initiatives.

    What projects like this could you help with in your community?

  4. Every day and everywhere in the world people struggle to feed themselves and their families.


    Click to see the full infographic on World Hunger (Credits: Online Schools)

    In most of the communities Delhaize Group serves, the reasons why people go hungry can be linked to debt, unemployment, illness, domestic violence, family breakdown, unexpected high bills… But the current economic crisis, the worst in decades, is such that many families struggle to put food on their tables, whether or not they have a job.

    Every year food banks fight hunger by providing emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis.
    Delhaize Group banners are part of the communities where they operate. Building healthy, prosperous communities, customers and employees is key to the success of the group. To best respond to local needs, the group’s banners have built local partnerships, support food fundraising through the store networks and donate food directly to local food banks.

    One in 6 people in the world suffer from lack of proper food. In Belgium, over 100 000 people cannot afford to buy a complete and nutritious meal.

    Delhaize Belgium recently organized its 21st food bank campaign. In the first years of the collaboration with the food banks, Delhaize customers were asked to buy food that was then collected and sent to the food banks, to be distributed to the needy. Nowadays the system has become more efficient: customers are invited to buy ‘meal vouchers’ with values ranging from EUR 1.5 to EUR 5 – a EUR 1.5 voucher buys a breakfast, a EUR 3 voucher a warm meal and a EUR 5 voucher buys enough food for the 3 daily meals every person should take. The money collected is given to the food banks that buy the exact goods needed at a specific moment. The 2011 food bank action at Delhaize Belgium ran from October 13 to 19. Hopes are to exceed the 2010 results, when Delhaize customers collected a total of EUR 865 142, equivalent to 407 882 meals.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, Delhaize America also contributes positively in the communities they serve by helping to feed the 49 million Americans who suffer from hunger. Last year Feeding America, the US largest domestic hunger charity, found a 46% increase in this need compared to 2006.

    At the individual store level, donations to food banks have increased through programs such as the Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger or Food Lion Hunger Has a Cure campaigns. At the banner level, partnerships with organizations, such as the Feeding America network, ensures that food still fit for consumption but unable to be sold is distributed to those who need it most. In 2010, in total, Delhaize America has given direct food donations of approximately 20 thousand tonnes, the equivalent of 34.5 million meals, through various events and partnerships. It also donated close to USD 500 000 to Feeding America.

    In recognition for its outstanding contribution, last August the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina awarded Food Lion the title of ‘Food Donor of the Year’. Food Lion received the honor for its 8.9 – million pound commitment to hunger relief. Donations from Food Lion included 7,545,087 pounds of food and 1,330,950 pounds of nonfood items. Food Lion also offered discounts below the market rate on transportation plus storage.

    Food Lion is a proud supporter of Feeding America,” Catherine Green Burns, CEO at Food Lion said. “Our company is dedicated to supporting hunger relief and nutrition education programs in the communities we serve. We strongly believe that no child should ever go hungry, and we hope this contribution will help these food banks to continue to make a difference in the fight to end child hunger.”

    Some of the banners that recently joined Delhaize Group are also involved with food donations. On World Food Day, on October 16, two Tempo centers and a Maxi supermarket celebrated the long partnership they have with local food banks by offering important volumes of food and by inviting customers to join in the action. During the campaign, that also involved other companies, a total of 5 tonnes of food were collected. It will be given to 350 households living in Serbia’s poorest municipalities.

  5. Hi there iPhone lovers,

    Making better food choices has never been easier. Having too many options to choose from in stores can at times be confusing, but technology comes into play to simplify grocery shopping by providing information on the nutritional values of foods, as well as recommendations on available alternatives. If you already have an iPhone (or iPad), all you need is a powerful app to help you boost your healthy lifestyle choices. You can download the app that works best for you and start making educated choices when filling up your shopping cart. 

    Here are some recommendations:

    Shopper Free is an app that aims to help you eat better for less money. You can create shopping lists to remember what you need from the store, but you can also keep track of recipes that you often shop for and items you buy often. And in the United States, with the enhanced barcode scanning feature, you can also track coupons, sale fliers, and even Guiding Stars nutritional information for many items.

    Healthy Food Finder is also an app focused on helping users make better food choices, and it works in two ways. First, it assists in making shopping lists; second, it helps make decisions in store – in both cases, the app offers access to nutritional information, and at the same time it provides evaluations of foods by outlining good and bad points. Healthy Food Finder partly relies on user-generated content, thus bringing a social component into the recommendations.

    Fooducate is another app that promotes healthier lifestyles by giving you an easy way to know exactly what you’re buying and eating. You can use it to scan barcodes of packaged foods (the database of available codes now counts 200,000 items, and is restricted to the United States) and receive a full nutritional rundown of the items, indicating calories, warnings and general information, as well as healthy suggestions for alternatives to each item you scan. The letter grading system is clean and simple, making the shopping experience fun.

    The final candidate on today’s list is Shop Healthy! – designed in cooperation with a physician board certified in nutrition, which features nutritional information about a variety of grocery store products. The easy to use interface and the friendly approach to offering information and fun facts makes this app stand out.

    There you go! These four apps can help you choose healthier when shopping for groceries. We only brought to your attention our top picks of general apps, but look around the app store for more alternatives.

    For shoppers in our markets don’t forget to check the free iPhone apps offered by Food Lion and Bloom in the US, and by Delhaize in Belgium. More information about their features coming soon!

  6. Two Food Lion green grocery stores in North Carolina have been awarded LEED® Silver certification.

    LEED, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design is a worldwide recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in various areas.

    Silver is the second of four certification levels under the LEED design program.

    By using less energy and water, certified LEED buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

    The 2 Food Lion LEED stores in North Carolina feature a number of environmentally-friendly features, including:

    LED (Light Emitting Diode) – lighting in the frozen food cases
    • Bike racks and preferred parking for carpool vehicles
    • Low-flow and sensor-activated water fixtures in restrooms
    • Native plant species that eliminate irrigation requirements
    • Enhanced air quality for employees and customers by using low-toxicity materials and implementing proactive management plans throughout construction to ensure optimal indoor air quality
    • Environmental education kiosks
    • A significant amount of building materials manufactured within 500 miles of each location to boost local economies and reduce energy expended on transportation
    • Waste management plans to divert construction waste from landfills through recycling
    • In-store customer and employee recycling programs

    Food Lion opened its first LEED-certified store last year in Columbia, S.C., and it also earned Silver-level certification.

    Congratulations to Food Lion for this new achievement that confirms the banner’s commitment to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption through green building construction.

  7. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. To support this, Belgium celebrates Fairtrade week between October 5th and 15th, as part of the International Solidarity month.

    In this context, under the provocative title “Is there still a need for Fairtrade?”, the Max Havelaar Foundation organized a conference in Brussels to discuss developments, needs and emerging ideas in this sector. The foundation actively promotes the movement by awarding a quality label to products that have been produced according to principles of fair trade. The focus of the conference was around finding big solutions at every level of the food value chain to contribute to improving the living and working conditions of small farmers.

    Image credits: Max Havelaar

    For customers fairtrade usually means paying a price premium for products, and many times without knowing what that premium helps support. But for small farmers fairtrade represents a strategy for fighting poverty. Small farmers and field workers in developing countries live with the constant pressures of world markets, fluctuating prices, and exploitation by local traders.

    Are you curious about fairtrade products and the benefits they bring? If you’re in Belgium you can pass today or tomorrow by one of the 10 participating Delhaize supermarkets where you can taste and receive information about the rich assortment of products labeled Max Havelaar.
    Find more information about participating locations here.

    What is your attitude toward purchasing fairtrade products?

  8. Let’s talk about the vegetable color wheel!

    Ever since we were little kids we felt attracted by bright colors, and especially where vegetables are concerned we were taught to mix and match based on colors. The closer to a rainbow our plate was, the more nutritious it was perceived to be. But we shouldn’t overlook white vegetables as an important source of vitamins and nutrients. Just because they don’t have the vibrant colors of their more popular counterparts doesn’t mean they have a pale nutritional profile.

    Recently we read a blog that cites a soon to be published study advising to include as many white fruit and vegetables as possible in our diets. In the words of the blog’s author, Ruth Kinzey, “research shows that white fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, bananas, cauliflower, cucumbers and mushrooms may guard against strokes. […] It’s not entirely clear why the white fruits and vegetables protect against stroke, but […] it is possible the observed reduction in stroke risk could be influenced by the generally healthier lifestyle demonstrated by individuals eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.”

    Since fruits and vegetables in other color groups are likely to protect against other chronic diseases, it’s clear that a diet rich in produce is simply a good idea… no matter what the color. But it does appear the study provides credence to the old adage, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ (Source: Refresh).

    And why not experiment with the different “white” flavors for a tasty meal that can stand up to lamb, pork, or beef?

    Here’s a recipe:


    •1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
    •4 tbsp unsalted butter
    •1/3 cup pine nuts
    •1 clove garlic, minced
    •1/2 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
    •salt and pepper to taste

    Picture and recipe credits: http://www.foodberry.com/recipe/roasted-cauliflower-with-dates-and-pine-nuts/.


    Preheat oven to 425F / 220C. On a baking sheet, spread evenly the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing once, until golden brown at the edges, about 20 min.

    On a small skillet, put butter to medium to low heat. Once the butter has melted, add pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently until they are lightly brown – about 5 min. Add garlic and dates and continue to cook until they have softened, about 2 or 3 min, season with salt.
    Transfer the hot cauliflower to a serving bowl, drizzle the pine nut mixture over the top and toss to combine.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Bon appétit!