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Consumer Buy-in for Danone-Auchan sustainability initiative

25 October 2019

Noreen Lanigan, Director Europe & North America, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board




To coincide with the FAO’s World Food day, Danone and Auchan Retail France teamed up last week to make their mutual sustainability goals more tangible to consumers by giving French consumers the opportunity to directly support farmers converting to more eco-friendly farming practices.  The campaign called #JeSaisJ’agis[1] (meaning “I’m aware, I act upon it”) called upon consumers to prove their commitment to sustainable production. It ran for a week in all 589 Auchan stores in France across a portfolio of approx. 350 Auchan private label products (Auchan Filiere Responsible) and specific Danone SKUs, including the brands Activia, Danonimo, Dannette, Danone, Les 2 vaches, Alpro, Provamel, Badoit, Volvic, Evian and Bledina. For each unit sold 10 cents went to a fund to financially support increased sustainable farming practices and to incentivise conversion towards greener farming practices amongst Auchan and Danone farmer-suppliers.



Taking consumer engagement one step further, Auchan encouraged consumers to vote on how the eco-conversion fund should be spent, asking consumers to vote online for their priority initiatives from 3 major themes: 1) increase conversion rates from conventional towards organic farming 2) soil preservation and biodiversity 3) animal welfare initiatives. The project that gets the most votes will receive 50% of the funds collected, with the remainder divided between the two runners up.



Last year Danone ran a similar campaign for one day across all French multiples committing 100% of their turnover from that day’s sales to a sustainable farming fund which collected €5.4m in 2018`, exceeding their sales forecast by 8%.



Danone and Auchan have clearly understood that to nudge consumer behaviour towards sustainable consumption both manufacturers and retailers need to implicate consumers to be part of the solution.



Sustainable and fair trade products accounted for €800m in retail sales in France in 2018 and are forecast[1] to reach €1.7bn by 2021, based on the success of initiatives where consumers and producers are involved in the product and price formulation. Other similar initiatives include C’est qui le patron[2] and Intermarché’s initiative Les éleveurs vous disent merci[3].



In the first half of 2019, organic food sales in France continued to deliver double digit growth, +18.7% in volume and +20.5% in value, accounting for 50% of the growth in consumer food sales in France during the first six months of the year. IRI France estimates that organic products will represent 10% of consumer food sales in the medium to long terms.