Examples of prevention
Carrefour Belgium
Prevention action: 
Product loss reduction
Product category: 
Food products
Products that better meet the needs of consumers

Distributor Carrefour offers an increasing number of food products in different-sized portions. Cooked ham and lasagne are just two examples. Such portioning responds to consumer demand for variety in diet and quantity. A positive side-effect is reducing food waste.

One product, various formats

Carrefour aims to offer the largest possible product range and at the same time meet the needs of diverse types of households. It therefore distributes an increasing number of food products in various portions. Cooked ham, for instance, is sold in family packs of 10 slices or in individual portions of 3 slices. The same thing goes for lasagne, which is offered in portions of 400 grams (1 to 2 people) or 900 grams (2 to 3 people). ‘The growing popularity of portioning is in line with the increasing number of people living alone,’ explains Pascal Léglise, Quality Director at Carrefour Belgium. ‘Portioning also reflects consumer demand to vary their consumption of food. As such, it is part of our Group’s strategy, which aims to make life easier for our customers.’

Less waste

‘Offering various portions for the same product reduces food waste since consumers are able to purchase the quantity that best fits their needs,’ adds Guido Brosius, Packaging Manager at Carrefour Belgium. ‘By reducing food waste, we meet both an environmental and an economic necessity, and we help our customers to manage the contents of their refrigerator efficiently.’

Changes in production

Smaller portions, however, require more handling and this has an impact on production. Every new packaging entails changes to the production process and, consequently, a technical investment by the producer. Our challenge is, therefore, to find the ideal balance between the manufacturing cost, the packaging cost and the contents,’ concludes Guido Brosius.

Good to remember

  • By offering products in different portion sizes, Carrefour makes life easier for customers and responds to their need for variety.
  • Portioning enables consumers to adapt their purchases to the size of their household. This reduces food waste.
  • Offering different portions of the same food product implies a carefully thought-out strategy in terms of production, marketing and diversification.

 

 

How Carrefour develops individual portions

Step 1: market research

The decision to sell a product in various portions is based on the results of market research. At Carrefour, Category Managers also use these results to define the appropriate packaging for each product.

Step 2: negotiations with the producer

Offering packaging in various sizes means modifying the production process. In the case of ham, for instance, the slices must be displayed in a different direction. Negotiations with the supplier establish whether portioning is technically feasible or not.

Step 3: product marketing

Each new reference is supported by promotional communication. The same is true when an existing product is given new packaging. Such innovations are promoted, for instance, through discount vouchers and articles in Carrefour’s customer magazine.

 

The portioning of our products stems from our will to make life easier for our customers.

Pascal Léglise, Quality Director, Carrefour Belgium

 

Your company can also benefit from providing different portions

A few tips from Carrefour:

  • Choose carefully whether to portion or to diversify. Filling store shelves with the same product in different packages takes up space that could otherwise be available to another product.
  • It is better to portion high rotation products that have a short shelf-life. Portioning is not attractive economically for products that don’t sell quickly.

 

 

Carrefour and the environment

  • For many years, Carrefour’s strategy has been to reduce its product packaging. The distributor has, for instance, carried out tests to establish the minimum packaging thickness to guarantee the quality of transport and storage for numerous products. The Group follows this approach for all the various types of packaging material.
  • Carrefour is gradually eliminating all biohazardous materials from its packaging, including that for non-food products. This approach also favours packaging recyclability.
  • The distributor is carrying out research in the field of bioplastics. It is evaluating packaging made of new compostable and renewable materials for use with products such as minced meat.