The commencement of the first lockdown in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic led to both the closure of universities as well as the university and college campus stores. Nine of the ten stores were closed for lengthy periods of time as education continued for students remotely. The only store to remain open was the Utrecht Science Park store as students could study in the library or surrounding buildings.
The stores based on campus mainly focus on offering convenient Grab & Go products. SPAR university stores were the first to introduce 100% self-checkouts in 2013 and the first to introduce a checkout-free environment in the Netherlands, using the Skip The Line tool in the SPAR university app. This tool allows customers to grab what they need, scan the QR code, and walk out without having to queue, saving time for busy students. SPAR has now fully incorporated a delivery and pick-up option into our SPAR university app, allowing customers to pay smoothly and pick up the order at fixed locations on campus.
The instore product offering reflects the shopping style of students which includes conscious and healthier choices. The coffee corners are supplemented with a grab and go range with freshly prepared snacks and meals. Each store has four to five coffee machines selling between 25,000 to 35,000 cups of coffee per week. Using the self-service machines, customers may use their own cups to refill coffee at a reduced price. 27% of the cups of coffee sold are served in customers’ own cups or in SPAR reusable coffee cups. There are also dedicated healthy product sections, with special offers always included in the promotions and highlighted in the app.
With a goal of zero waste by 2023, SPAR university stores have their own Zero Waste Bag of discounted groceries comprising ready-to-eat meals, vegetables and/or fresh products.The recent ‘do you need’ campaign encourages shoppers to consider if they need cup lids, bags, eating utensils, within the sustainable framework set up by Erwin Binneveld.
SPAR has also focused on reducing food waste with Green Offices and Sustainability Hubs at the university locations. Another sustainable initiative has been to offer tapped water in the stores for students to refill their water bottles as part of the Join The Pipe movement aimed at reducing plastic waste. Join the Pipe introduced a new sustainable tap water bottle in 2015- BOGO Bottle. The BOGO bottle stands for ‘Buy One Give One’ and is a stylish reusable tap water bottle made from BPA-free plastic. For every BOGO bottle purchased at SPAR university, a second bottle is donated to a schoolchild in Africa.
Source: SPAR Netherlands
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About SPAR Netherlands
The SPAR Brand was founded in the Netherlands in 1932 by the Dutch wholesaler, Adriaan van Well and 16 independent retailers. It was established as a voluntary chain of grocers under the name DESPAR – an acronym of a slogan created by van Well to describe the organisation: Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig, which translates in English to All benefit from joint co-operation. The Head Office and Distribution Centre (DC) are located in Waalwijk, from where support is provided for the almost 450 stores in operation.