Food is a key health issue in today’s society and a major concern for the Group, which addresses it through a product policy combining safety, nutritional balance, health and pleasure.
- Ensuring product quality
- Improving the nutritional profile of products
- Informing consumers about the nutritional value of products
Ensuring product quality
Product quality and safety are a top priority for the Group, across all the ranges of its private-label products. From product specifications to store operations, an end-to-end system ensures that the Group sells safe, healthy products of the highest quality.
In France and internationally alike, the quality management system deployed within the Group is based on:
- a Group Quality Charter shared with subsidiaries;
- a dedicated organisation and the expertise of teams Group Quality department and subsidiaries’ quality departments;
- International Featured Standards (IFS) and the work of the GFSI (global benchmark for food safety standards);
- specifications shared with suppliers;
- collaborative management tools developed with food manufacturers to ensure compliance with specifications and effective product tracking;
- traceability, withdrawal, recall and crisis management procedures and tools, implemented as needed;
- sites are subject to regular audits, with particular emphasis on health and safety risk management in compliance with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.
- product quality controls are conducted throughout the year : product control plan, in store and monitoring sensory quality (taste, aroma, etc.)
Specific programmes are also run by the subsidiaries. GPA reinforces its programmes each year:
- “Quality from the source” programme for the improvement and traceability of fruit, vegetables and eggs to monitor product transport and storage conditions and, where appropriate, the use of pesticides;
- “Programa evolutivo de qualidade” (PEQ), a progressive quality programme assisting suppliers in the development of private label products in terms of quality and food safety, and encouraging them to obtain internationally recognised certification from an independent body. The programme is extended to new product categories each year.
Improving the nutritional profile of products
The Group’s health and nutrition approach, initiated in 2005, is based on the experience and expertise acquired by the Group since 1901, when the very first Casino private-label product was created. It was reinforced:
- in 2008, with the signing of a charter of voluntary nutritional progress commitments with the French Ministry of Health, under the National Health Nutrition Plan (PNNS);
- in 2010, with the establishment of a Health Committee that meets four times a year to analyse data, the latest scientific trends and consumer expectations in the field of health. The Committee issues recommendations on controversial ingredients such as aspartame, endocrine disruptors, bisphenol and pesticides, and supports the Group in France in its development of special private-label ranges such as poultry raised without antibiotics and frozen fruit and vegetables that are guaranteed to be free of quantified pesticide residues.
The Group’s main initiatives involve:
- improving private-label products’ nutritional value by reducing their salt, fat or simple sugar content, or substituting certain fats with others offering a better nutritional profile;
- developing product ranges for specific dietary requirements including gluten intolerance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, diabetes and weight problems;
- introducing more legible nutrition labelling to better inform consumers;
- conducting research into innovative products and production methods;
- promoting a healthy lifestyle and balanced eating.
In addition to the nutritional and health criteria imposed on suppliers of private-label products, the Casino Group offers several product lines meeting the specific nutritional requirements of some of its consumers.
- A range for diabetics or gluten-intolerant people. The private label “Casino Bien pour Vous !” offers five product ranges, including sugar- and gluten-free ranges developed in collaboration with the French Diabetes Federation (FFD) and the French Association of Gluten Intolerance (AFDIAG). Monoprix also offers a gluten-free range. The Taeq brand, distributed in Colombia and Brazil, offers a benefit in terms of health and well-being, and ranks among the 50 most popular brands for Brazilian consumers. It contains products suited to specific needs (gluten-, sugar- and lactose-free).
- An offering for special diets. Leader Price Fine Ligne offers low-salt, low-sugar and low-fat products, and was put together with the help of nutrition experts; Monoprix is pursuing the development of “new dietary requirement” products, with over 30 SKUs without salt, a chilled vegetarian range and gluten-free products.
Informing consumers about the nutritional value of products
The Group supports the introduction of nutritional labelling to provide better information to consumers. Private-label food products feature nutritional labelling stating the energy value, quantity of protein, carbohydrates, sugar, lipids, saturated fats, dietary fibre and sodium, and any allergens in the list of ingredients, as well as the origin of meat in ready meals. The Casino brand applies this labelling at its own initiative on a number of product families that are not subject to the regulations.
Casino participated in and provided financial support for a nationwide public health experiment in 2016, with the aim of establishing an additional nutrition labelling system for Europe. The idea is to choose the most suitable system of labelling to guide consumers in their food choices, and above all the least advantaged populations. For over two months, four kinds of labels were affixed to products and tested in 60 Casino supermarkets.