Food Retailing and Sustainable Development

Cover of Food Retailing and Sustainable Development

European Perspectives

Synopsis

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-viii
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Introduction

Pages 1-6
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Section I Practices by European Retailers

Abstract

This chapter focuses on French food retailers and sustainable development. The food retailing groups can be divided into three types of distributors: integrated groups (Carrefour, Casino, Auchan, and Cora), groups of independent stores (Leclerc, Intermarché, and System U), and hard discounters as (Lidl and Aldi). In addition, in the sphere of more sustainable distribution, there are also specialized retailers such as Biocoop, Naturalia, La Vie Claire, and direct channels. These channels offer an alternative to the dominant model of industrialized and standardized agriculture and supply symbolized by mass distribution. The evolution of the discourse on sustainable development from 2005 to strategies proposing local products, bio products, and private labels shows that mass retailers have understood that taking into account the collective interest of society can be a source of significant differentiation in a fiercely competitive market. A supplementary finding of this chapter is the major strategic role of private labels in the implementation of retailers’ sustainable development policy: improving products, rethinking packaging policy, and formulating advice for consumers.

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Abstract

Over the last decade, retailers have shown an increasing interest in providing evidence of the sustainability of their activities. This is mainly due to the demands of policy and consumers as well as competition. Indeed, several retailers are making efforts to design and implement sustainable practices from a Triple Bottom Line approach (i.e., economic, social, and environmental sustainability). This chapter discusses the sustainable practices of leading Spanish top grocery and apparel retailers, focusing on those that may be considered as setting benchmarks in their respective sectors. A content analysis of annual report sections related to sustainability, independent sustainability reports, and information published by these main Spanish retailers, enables us to identify three main types of practices providing evidence of retailers’ sustainability. These are cross-industry sustainable practices, industry-dependent practices, and firm innovations. These practices may become guidance and inspiration for other retailers in these sectors, as well as in other product assortment.

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Abstract

German food retailers face a saturated market that is characterized by a high competition environment, dominated by four big retailers. Discounters represent the most important retailing format and German food retailing is often characterized as being “cheap and cheerless.” Retailers offer low-price environments for their customers, because Germans are among the most price sensitive and price-oriented consumers across the world; as a consequence, margins are extremely low. On the other hand, German consumers have the longest tradition worldwide of behaving ecologically and being societally friendly. Being “green,” caring about the ecological footprint, the impact of their own behavior on others, has been for decades the mainstream rather than the exceptional case in Germany. This all leads to all German retailers struggling with the “contradiction” of very price-oriented customers that expect retailers to be sustainable in all possible ways. This chapter discusses how German food retailers respond to these requirements. It presents retailers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies and activities with regard to the CSR domains of environment, non-domestic operations, product, community support, employee support, and diversity. While all major German retailers have established a high number of CSR activities among all six domains, they often focus on measures that not only improve their CSR image, but also lead to cost reduction by improving efficiency (e.g., reducing energy cost, streamlining supply chains, or improving logistics).

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Abstract

The UK is a developed retail economy with some of the largest and most powerful retailers in the world. These retailers have been attempting to offer sustainable distribution, both for consumer focus reasons and as an aid to performance. At the other end of the scale, small local community focused stores have begun to emerge to offer an alternative food supply to that of the major chains. They too argue for a focus on sustainability but from a very different perspective. This chapter explores these varying approaches, using the contrasts to develop a discussion about sustainable distribution in the UK.

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Abstract

This chapter is designed to highlight the role of sustainable development in corporate Internet communications of selected retailers operating in Poland. It provides an overview of key content relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR) available on the websites of retailers analyzed in the study. Key thematic areas connected with corporate sustainable development are usually linked with the CSR strategy. These areas refer to the accountability of the chain as an employer, guarantor of high quality of products, reliable business partner, a member of the local community, and an entity that is taking care of the environment. Conclusions and comments are based on the analysis of the content published on corporate websites of selected retailers and the assessment of how the content is communicated using various marketing tools.

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Section II The Stakes Involved for Retailers

Abstract

The UK food retailing sector has undergone a radical transformation over the last 70 or so years. It has become a sector dominated by very large businesses with considerable power over both the upstream and downstream supply chain. The scale and power of those leading retailers has attracted considerable academic focus and political attention. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, global concern has emerged via a number of grand challenges including sustainability. Retailers have increasingly sought to address issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, both to stave off criticism and for reasons of operational efficiency. The scale of the UK’s leading food retailers thus becomes a two-edged sword; should these retailers be co-opted in the fight for global sustainability or radically challenged as the cause of many of the problems? This chapter reviews the changing roles of food retailers, their steps in CSR and then poses the question as the future role of retailers in this changing environmental landscape.

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Abstract

This chapter analyzes consumers’ social representations associated with food waste and their influence on their behavior. A series of semi-structured face-to-face interviews was conducted with 22 individuals, who were heterogeneous in terms of age (21–64, mean age 42), gender, SPC, geographical location, and family situation. The second set of data collection involved administering a questionnaire to 76 consumers aged between 19 and 37 in France. They were asked to give four synonyms on the basis of key words (waste and food waste) and to classify 20 terms presented to them from the most to the least significant as regards the theme of food waste. The results show that food waste depends on the individual’s emotional and gustatory, health-related, economic and/or symbolic, and moral representations. The central core of social representations is around the nature/culture of food. Managerial action should focus on the revalorization of foods and to restoring meaning to the eating/food relationship, orienting consumers toward the hedonic, ethical and symbolic values of food products, and experiences.

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Abstract

Brand equity has been highlighted as a crucial element in differentiating products and achieving competitive advantage. Recent studies reflect the gradual rise in interest in the importance of building brand equity linked to the store. However, empirical evidence about the antecedents of store brand equity is still scarce, particularly on the retailer’s corporate social responsibility behavior. This chapter aims to analyze the influence of the retailer’s commitment to sustainable development (RCSD) and the credibility of the retailer’s communications on the overall store brand equity. Focusing on two samples of hypermarket customers in France and Spain, the findings provide evidence on the importance of the RCSD regarding employees, society, and environment, as well as the effectiveness of credible communications to generate store brand equity. Results are consistent for France and Spain.

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Abstract

This chapter deals with five key themes: the objectives for companies and the attitudes and buying behaviour of consumers as concerns sustainable development, the firm’s strategies for reducing energy costs and waste, the challenges of bringing all actors in the supply chain into line, the firm’s supply policy in response to consumer demand and the technical, organisational and communication challenges surrounding the environmental impact of products. It then considers at the role of governments and NGOs in companies’ approaches towards sustainable development strategies before finally outlining the future prospects for these strategies.

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on how retailers can do the right thing and be successful at the same time, particularly in the light of technological innovation. Service dominant logic (SDL), with the notion of operant and operand resources as a means to connect the retailer to the customer, provides a framework for the chapter. Normative decision making is presented as a necessary ethical and practical mindset to solve problems, and we illustrate the relationship between normative decision making and value. Value becomes the ultimate outcome to the customer that will allow for sustainable retailing into the future. Utilitarian value and hedonic value are presented and elaborated upon to show how companies and consumers come together to transform resources into value through service. Sections are included showing how value delivery will evolve into the future and what mix of value will be necessary so that retailing can see continued success.

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Index

Pages 187-193
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Cover of Food Retailing and Sustainable Development
DOI
10.1108/9781787145535
Publication date
2018-10-25
Editors
ISBN
978-1-78714-554-2
eISBN
978-1-78714-553-5