NORMA Focuses on Sustainable Transportation of Fruit And Vegetables
4/23/2024 Sustainability New Paths Article

NORMA Focuses on Sustainable Transportation of Fruit And Vegetables

One year after switching to reusable trolleys, the Nuremberg-based food discounter draws a positive balance and presents figures. The CO2 footprint along the value chain has been significantly reduced.

Oranges and avocados in IFCO's reusable crates. IFCO's reusable crates have been used in even more areas at NORMA since 2023. The aim is to significantly reduce the amount of packaging waste and food waste.

In March 2023, the food discounter NORMA, headquartered in Nuremberg, began an extensive packaging changeover to reusable crates for fruit and vegetables. In the more than 1,350 Norma stores in Germany and Austria, black crates were introduced for products from Europe and green crates for regional products to highlight the regional goods. Gradually, more and more items in the fruit and vegetable range were to be delivered with the reusable transport crates. To this end, Norma cooperated with IFCO Systems GmbH. IFCO claims to be the world’s leading supplier of reusable packaging containers (RPCs) for the retail sector. The aim was to reduce disposable packaging in the supply chain. At the same time, this is a further measure in the fight against food waste.

One year later, NORMA is taking stock of the initial success of the sustainability offensive with IFCO Systems GmbH. The initial figures show that the collaboration is paying off, NORMA explains. The retail company was able to save almost 60,000 cubic meters of water and “avoid more than 3,000 tons of CO2 emissions and over 1,700 tons of food waste”, Katja Heck, Head of Central Advertising and Communication explains.

Thanks to their robustness, the reusable crates protect entire loads of fruit and vegetables better during transportation. “This means that the food suffers significantly less damage than products packed in cardboard. In addition, the IFCO reusable containers are designed in such a way that they allow better ventilation of the food and thus help to extend its shelf life”, elucidates Heck.

No More Disposable Cardboard Boxes

The aim of the collaboration between NORMA and IFCO is to significantly reduce the CO2 footprint along the value chain. The numerous other advantages in terms of ecology and economy that IFCO reusable crates promise during transportation were also to be utilized. To this end, all items in the fruit and vegetable range have since been delivered in the reusable crates. Disposable cardboard boxes, the production of which consumes more energy and water over their entire life cycle, are now a thing of the past at NORMA.
“We intend to use the multiway crates in other areas of our product range in the future, for example for the product group of plants. Corresponding implementation tests are already underway”, Heck states.

Less Water

IFCO SmartCycleTM also ensures that the reusable crates remain in use over the long term and guarantees smooth and more efficient logistics between the producers of fresh food and the end customer in the NORMA store. The reusable containers can generally be used up to 120 times and should remain in use for the long term. Discarded crates are first processed into granulate and then into new reusable crates as part of this cycle. According to the companies, in 2023, as many emissions were avoided in this way as 2,174 cars cause in one year. The water consumption saved is roughly equivalent to 1.5 million five-minute showers.

Awards for Organic Goods

The discounter, which also operates stores in the Czech Republic and France, has already received several awards for its sustainable activities. At BIOFACH 2024 – as FACHPACK an event of NürnbergMesse – NORMA won the title of Germany’s best organic retailer for the 15th time in a row. The Nuremberg-based company has won a total of 224 medals from the German Agricultural Society (DLG), putting it far ahead of the competition.