Research compares Dutch supermarkets on sustainability

Feb 1, 2021

Last week, the Questionmark Foundation started with a national comparison of the sustainability of Dutch supermarkets. The research “Superlist Green” examines the extent to which supermarkets help us eat sustainably. The study leads to a public ranking of the eight largest Dutch supermarkets. For this research Questionmark collaborates with Natuur & Milieu, Natuurmonumenten and Mighty Earth. The results will be published in May 2021. Supermarkets that are included in Superlist are: Albert Heijn, Jumbo, Lidl, Aldi, Plus, Dirk, Coop and Ekoplaza.

Influence of supermarkets

To make our food system future-proof, we will have to change our food pattern. Seventy percent of what Dutch people consume on a daily basis, comes from the supermarket. With their assortment, shop layout and weekly offers, supermarkets have significant influence on the choices their customers make. Charlotte Linnebank, Director of Questionmark: “In addition to being able to help their customers choose healthy and sustainable, supermarkets with their large purchasing volumes, also have a strong position in the production chains. Supermarkets are well positioned to make the Dutch food pattern healthier and more sustainable, and to accelerate sustainability in these production chains. With Superlist, we help supermarkets seize this opportunity.”

Collaboration with Natuur & Milieu, Natuurmonumenten and Mighty Earth

For Superlist Green, Questionmark collaborates with three partner organizations: Natuur & Milieu, Natuurmonumenten and Mighty Earth. “We are very curious about the efforts of the various supermarkets to make vegetarian food attractive and the extent to which the public is made aware of plant-based food. In the end, it is the idea that supermarkets will take meat out of the core of their marketing efforts,” says Marjolein Demmers, director of Natuur & Milieu.

Marc van den Tweel, director Natuurmonumenten: “With the choice of their assortment, the supermarkets determine for a large part, the look of the Dutch landscape. We want to know if they are taking their responsibility to help the consumer in the supermarket contribute to a more beautiful and nature-rich  Netherlands. For example, by helping them choose products produced with a focus on healthier biodiversity in the agricultural world.”

Wouter Kolk, Mighty Earth Director Netherlands: “Customers of supermarkets do not want to contribute to the destruction of tropical forests and further global warming. Supermarkets benefit of telling the true story of deforestation in their soy and meat supply chains. That's why it's important to compare the performance of supermarkets on how they address deforestation in their supply chain, so that their customers can make a well-informed choice.”

Research method

The research method of the Superlist was created in consultation with the partners and with a Board of Scientists. These scientists have expert knowledge of health, sustainability, consumer behavior and supermarkets. The method, for which the supermarkets also have been consulted, is public and can be found here (in Dutch).

Other Superlists

Last October, Superlist Health was published. Superlist Green is the second study in the series. The next will be Superlist Social and Superlist Animal Welfare.



More information

Press contact for the survey: Annelore van der Lint | | +31 (0)6 290 73 879