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SPAR Croatia: Sustainability initiatives show great results

March 12, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Community, Environment, Responsible retailing, Sourcing

SPAR Croatia is making great progress towards achieving its sustainable development goals. Following continued success in the areas of plastics reduction, local sourcing, and product reformulation, we highlight some of SPAR Croatia’s most recent responsible retailing initiatives.

Biodegradable bags

Responding to global trends shifting away from single-use plastic, SPAR Croatia currently offers customers ten different types of eco-friendly bags instore. These include high-quality paper bags, biodegradable bags, and mesh bags for fruit and vegetables. Since their introduction in February 2019, more than one million biodegradable fruit and vegetable bags have been sold. Customers bought more than 80,000 reusable mesh bags for fruit and vegetables by the end of 2019, following their introduction in April of that year.

Bread donations to Caritas Croatia

Community support is a key focus for SPAR Croatia. Since 2011, SPAR has been collaborating with Caritas, one of Croatia’s biggest social and humanitarian organisations, with SPAR donating almost €6.5 million worth of bread. Last year alone, SPAR donated bread worth €588,000. Caritas distributed this bread to public kitchens and other welfare institutions, as well as beneficiaries of family assistance programmes throughout Croatia.

“From the very beginning of its operations in the Croatian market, SPAR has been involved in humanitarian campaigns aimed at improving the quality of life of those in need. We have been cooperating with Caritas for many years, and we will continue to do so”, said Danijel Vidiš, Board Member of SPAR Croatia.

Sourcing of local products

Local sourcing is another key focus area. An impressive 77% of SPAR Croatia’s food offering is sourced from domestic businesses. Among the locally sourced food products are fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, honey, and olive oil. Further demonstrating its commitment to supporting local producers, SPAR Croatia runs a campaign called “Yes, Local!”, encouraging the purchase of local goods.

“We have been cooperating with Croatian suppliers since our first day of business. Croatian products are of the highest quality and offer the best value for money”, said Helmut Fenzl, CEO of SPAR Croatia.

Sugar reduction in own brand products

Following recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that daily sugar intake should be reduced to less than 10% of total energy intake, SPAR Croatia has sought to reduce the amount of sugar in its own brand products. Thanks to an initiative launched in 2017, by the end of 2019, a total reduction target of 21 tonnes of sugar was reached.

SPAR and INTERSPAR stores across the country offer a total of 65 products with reduced sugar content. As part of this initiative, SPAR Croatia does not use sugar substitutes in its own brand products.

Reduction of salt in bread baked instore

SPAR Croatia has successfully reduced the amount of salt in its bread baked daily at SPAR and INTERSPAR bakeries by 1.4%, in line with the WHO’s dietary recommendations. The salt content in all bread varieties has been reduced by 2% to the recommended 1,4% and in some cases, the salt content has been reduced to even lower than the recommended amount. All other ingredients remain the same – no additives were used to replace the salt and the bread is of the same high quality and taste.

“Through revising the recipe, SPAR Croatia is enabling positive change in our customers’ eating habits”, said Helmut Fenzl, CEO of SPAR Croatia.

Source: SPAR Croatia

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About SPAR Croatia

The first SPAR store opened in Croatia in mid-2005, following the signing of the licence agreement between ASPIAG (Austrian SPAR International AG) and SPAR International in 2004.

As a member of the ASPIAG group, SPAR Croatia has access to a wide range of own brand products. Brand development has primarily taken place through SPAR Supermarkets and INTERSPAR Hypermarkets, both through the take-over of existing chains and the opening of new stores.