The discounter Aldi banned flying fruit and vegetables from its shelves. For environmental reasons.
By doing without so-called “flying fruit and vegetables”, Aldi wants to make a contribution to environmental protection, the company announces. The discounter is now banning fruit and vegetables that have been flown in from its stores and, according to its own statements, wants to save 5,000 tons of CO₂ a year.
Competitor Lidl has been doing without flown-in vegetables and fruit since its launch in Switzerland. Since 2020, meat and fish products transported by air have also been sold.
Migros and Coop continue to fly in
The situation is different for the two most powerful retailers in Switzerland: Migros and Coop neither want to do without importing vegetables and fruit that have been flown in. “Not carrying out any air transport at all is currently not an issue,” says a Migros spokesman.
Overall, the proportion of flying fruit and vegetables at Migros makes up less than 1 percent of the range. The transport of these items caused CO₂ emissions of 18,000 tons. You compensate for this through your own climate foundation in cooperation with Myclimate.
At Coop, too, it is said that air transport cannot be completely avoided due to the short shelf life of some products. “If we were to do without it completely, we would no longer be able to offer our customers the same extensive range of exotic fruits and vegetables as we are today,” said a spokesman.
range restriction or environmental protection
If you want to sell fresh asparagus or exotic fruits that have ripened on the tree in the middle of winter, you will of course not get them from local suppliers. Aldi is therefore aware that the latest decision will result in restrictions on the range.
“If an item that is not suitable for transport by ship is no longer available in Europe for seasonal reasons, we will not continue to offer it,” says a company spokesman. This is also the case, for example, with products such as blackberries.
However, the two large retailers do not want to limit the range – and refer to the personal responsibility of the customer. “With what we offer, we are fundamentally geared to the needs of our customers and offer them freedom of choice,” says Coop.
Migros “By Air” logo has no influence
Migros adds that the products are declared transparently in order to give customers the choice. Specifically, fruit and vegetables flown in by air would be marked with the “By Air” logo. This should make it clear to customers that buying the product is not very ecological.
In practice, however, this does not seem to deter consumers from buying. According to the Coop spokesman, demand for products marked as air freight imports has remained constant since the logo was introduced.
That doesn’t surprise Greenpeace’s climate expert, Georg Klingler. He explains that there are many more factors influencing the customer’s decision to buy than such a logo, such as the placement of the goods, the price or any promotions.
“It is therefore more important than shifting responsibility onto consumers that retailers take responsibility and ensure that they become more sustainable.”
7357 tons imported by plane
According to figures from the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security, 7,357 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables were imported into Switzerland by plane in 2021. It had a total value of over 56 million Swiss francs. This results in an average kilo value of 7.60 francs. This high price per kilo indicates that retailers mainly import high-priced fruit and vegetables by plane.
Fruit and vegetables make up 9.2 percent of all goods imported by plane. It is therefore the product category with the largest volume in air imports. Even before machines and clothing. (SDA/shq)