Going Green

Ekoplaza, an Amsterdam grocery store chain, made headlines last month for launching a plastic-free aisle of food products in one of its locations. The 700 products in this aisle are wrapped in biodegradable materials and will not cost more due to the alternative packaging. This is the first of its kind worldwide, and has made a bold statement and the damaging effects of plastic pollution, and single-use plastic packaging. Ekoplaza says it will expand plastic-free options into all 74 branches by the end of the year. Ekoplaza is one of many grocery retailers that are adapting their practices to appeal to "green consumers." This group of customers believes in healthy and sustainable living. Moreover, they often choose retailers based on moral standards and responsible practices. Experts believe that by 2020 more than half of grocery retailers worldwide will opt for more sustainable packaging.

The sustainable movement is driving global change and is impacting more than just traditional retailers. Grocery companies seem to be at the forefront of change, but local family run businesses and farmers are reporting business adjustments due to the "green" movement. In fact, according to a study conducted by Stanford University in January of 2018, farmers say that they are inspired by mega grocery retailers to adopt practices that are more environmentally friendly. Some might say that this seems backwards, but many farmers are suppliers who depend on the business of customer facing retailers. Some farmers who participated in the study report that they had been farming sustainably for years and struggled to make a satisfactory return. Sustainable farming is expensive and the demand from consumers simply wasn't there. Over the past decade change has seemed to gather more and more momentum, and now many local farms are in such high demand they have had to hire additional help to keep up. Participants in the study acknowledged this as a win-win situation as it's better for consumers, for the environment, and for suppliers who make a living based on this business.