A strong focus on Danish manufacturers and a willingness to in certain cases pay a little more than some of the competitors provides high quality and flexibility for discount retail chain Lidl Denmark (owned by the German Schwarz Group). This is what the chain's purchasing director says, who hopes to help push for a change so that all Danish greenhouses can be heated with green energy.
Purchasing Director at Lidl Denmark Rasmus Pape is naturally pleased that Lidl is highlighted by several Danish food producers as a frontrunner in the climate area among the large retail chains.
A number of Danish food producers of fruit and vegetables are frustrated by the experience that the country's large retail groups talk loud and clear about climate and sustainability abroad, but largely only focus on price when they buy goods for their shelves.
For a profession like the few remaining Danish tomato farmers, the problem is a key challenge for both being able to run a financially sustainable business from day to day while having to invest in a constantly greener production.
Something that will ultimately benefit both the climate and the individual Danish tomato grower, who is expected to look into a future with high taxes on CO2 emissions, while especially Dutch, Spanish and Moroccan tomatoes are knocking on the door.
However, several of the food producers the Danish newspaper Berlingske has spoken to point to the German discount retail giant Lidl as being by far the most serious in the climate field.
As a chain where great demands are made on the manufacturers and things are checked up. And as a place where it is to a greater extent than with most others possible to talk about things, if you as a Danish producer need to get a little more for your goods to make things stick together.
According to Rasmus Pape, Purchasing Director at Lidl Denmark, Lidl's side is very much about running a business with "common sense".
He says that Lidl gets both great quality and flexibility again from its suppliers by focusing a lot on buying Danish goods.
"It means a lot to us that we can call and say, 'We have to have this tomorrow.' Or the day after tomorrow. Or you can come NOW, because your tomatoes have sold mega well this week. We can not do it in the same way at all if we get them from Spain, and they are four days in the making, "says Rasmus Pape and elaborates:
“So there are many different parameters that come into play when we shop, also in addition to price, environment and climate. The quality is simply better. I may pay a little extra for that, but it gives us satisfied customers and suppliers in the end. "
Lidl Denmark currently has 13 different tomatoes in its range. The eight of them are Danish, while the remaining five come primarily from the Netherlands. During the winter months, Spain plays a major role. At the same time, the director states that Lidl's shame is also tough on prices, as the margins in the retail trade are relatively small.
“We are aware of what things cost at all levels. We know what it costs to drive a truck from Spain to Denmark or from Nørre Snede to Køge, where we have our warehouse. We know what the packaging costs. We know pretty much what it costs to grow a tomato. But we also know what it costs to invest, and we know what it takes for a supplier to have some more security. For both the quality and the flexibility," says Rasmus Pape.
Eight times Denmark
The proportion of Danish tomatoes at Lidl varies from season to season. Lidl Denmark currently has 13 tomatoes in its range. Of these, three are organic and five are conventional from Denmark. The last five varieties are currently primarily from the Netherlands.
»It is somewhat seasonal in fruit and vegetables, where, for example, Spain covers a different period than the Danish tomatoes. I have no problem taking goods from Spain, where they are just as motivated and passionate about their tomatoes as the Danish growers. But our focus is, among other things, on the fact that we can be more involved in product development at Danish growers, and that the products are not that long in the making. There is significantly higher flexibility, which means a lot to us," says Rasmus Pape.