Many consumers are now regularly interested in knowing about the origin of the products they buy, and regional origin is especially important to shoppers. Having regional products in the assortment helps farmers and farms in the local area where consumers live – and thus the consumer’s direct environment. And short transport routes and seasonality have the additional benefits of reducing the environmental footprint.
For the REWE Group, regional suppliers are suppliers that produce a finished product within the same specifically defined region where the commodities they are made from are produced. Regional assortments include a high percentage of fresh fruit and vegetable products that are sold in stores on a seasonal basis. To consumers, this group of suppliers represents freshness, short transport distances, trustworthy production and support for the local economy.
REWE Group has markedly expanded its regional product range in recent years. The foundation of this effort is formed by long-term relationships of the REWE sales line with suppliers in the region as well as transparent, attention-grabbing communication about the special quality of these products to consumers, like in the REWE Regional summer campaign.
The nationwide brand REWE Regional introduced in 2012 ensures rapid recognition of regional products. The region from which a product comes is shown on the packaging: as a politically defined area (i.e., a German state), a cultural region (i.e., the Franconia area of northern Bavaria) or a traditional cultivation region (i.e., the Altes Land area that straddles parts of Lower Saxony and Hamburg). Examples include sausage and eggs from North Rhine-Westphalia or Bavaria, apples from Altes Land and North Sea shrimp from Dithmarschen. The regional assortment performed very well during the reporting period.
|REWE stores that sell REWE Regional items||3,1651||3,2781||3,289|
|Number of products3||465||607||641|
As another way of promoting regional products, REWE Group became a charter member of the supporting association Regionalfenster e.V. (Regional Window) in 2012 and has been applying the group’s regional window concept to selected products in PENNY and REWE stores since 2014. The label provides consumers with verified information about the origin of ingredients and the processing location. In this manner, the Regional Window creates transparency for customers that complements store-brand-specific information. At REWE, the number of Regional Window items rose from 288 in 2016 to 354 in 2018.
|Number of products1||288||368||354|
PENNY labels roughly 60 items which are available seasonally in Germany as Regional Window products. These products include cucumbers, carrots, asparagus and tomatoes that frequently come from one supplier per region. As a result, nearly all items produced in Germany are identified as Regional Window products. As an additional way of highlighting a product’s origin, PENNY identifies regional fruit and vegetables by German state or agricultural or “pleasure region” like the Oldenburger Münsterland area of north-western Germany. Transparency about a product’s origin is one part of PENNY’s regionality pledge, a promise that also covers its commitment to freshness by employing short transport distances and promoting domestic producers.
Since September 2014, another regional concept for fruit and vegetables has been used in the stores of BILLA, MERKUR and Sutterlüty. It is called “Da komm ich her” (I’m From Here). During the reporting period, the fruit and vegetable items sold on a seasonal and regional basis increased to 270 and the number of customer contacts to over 86 million.
|Number of products3||223||244||255|
Under the PENNY store brand “Ich bin Österreich” (I’m Austria), products that are made according to typical Austrian recipes and contain only Austrian ingredients are sold. At the end of 2018, the range had 407 products, as compared to 388* in 2017. I’m Austria items generated approximately 86,000 customer contacts in total in 2018.
* The number of products under the PENNY store brand I’m Austria for 2017 has been adjusted since initial publishing due to a data collection error.
When the word “local” is used, it refers to products that generally come from small suppliers or sellers of agricultural items who directly serve a regionally limited number of stores. Local items are typically marketed under the umbrella brand “From Your Region” and are placed in stores and labelled accordingly. To further boost the number of items produced locally, REWE has appointed locality officers. These officers establish contacts between REWE stores and local producers and suppliers and perform such tasks as attending locality conferences where suppliers can present their goods. There were 16 locality officers during the reporting period. One successful example of the promotion of local suppliers is the REWE “Landmarkt” (country store) concept in the Region Central. Farmers in the organisation Vereinigung der Hessischen Direktvermarkter e.V. (VHD) sell their products under this name throughout the state of Hesse. At the end of 2018, 300 stores sold more than 3,200 Landmarkt items.
|Stores that sell Landmarkt items||2671||278||300|
|Number of products3||over 2,900||over 3,300||over 3,200|
In addition, some retailers have created their own regional product ranges. In the REWE Richrath stores in the Cologne area, consumers find a large number of products that bear the label “Wir aus der Region” (We from the Region).