METRO Cash & Carry Serbia is in the mission for sustainable business of its customers

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“Our job is to provide help and support to HoReCa partners in running a successful business. This always means providing a diverse range of products and services, which comply with the highest standards of quality and safety, but in a situation where we face major changes – we believe that we can offer our customers and partners something more than usual,” Andre Rinnensland, General Manager, METRO Cash & Carry Serbia, told BIZLife magazine.
Sustainability is something that is talked about a lot, and we have recently noticed that METRO strives to be a leader in this area when it comes to the business of the HoReCa sector. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Sustainability is something we all really need to think about, and not just now, in the current pandemic situation, because the future of all of us depends on whether we find sustainable ways to live and work. METRO, as a wholesaler, tries to apply this principle to its entire business process – from the selection of manufacturers of the range we offer, through the entire process of delivering products to our stores and, finally, to the way we place and deliver them to customers.
For wholesale, these must be basic professional standards if we want to be responsible partners to the communities in which we work. So, we start with ourselves, and then we go further and help caterers to be more sustainable.
How does METRO support HoReCa and other customers when it comes to sustainability?
The most recent sustainability initiatives we launched were the METRO initiative to reduce the use of plastics, as well as marking World Sustainable Gastronomy Day, by developing and sharing the METRO Guide to Sustainable Restaurants. Both issues are closely related to our business and the business of our customers, and both issues are something that urgently needs to be addressed by raising public awareness and offering concrete solutions.
The fact is that 91 percent of the currently produced plastic will never be recycled and that a large percentage ends up on land or in water systems, which, in the end, enters the food chain. Therefore, METRO believes that a significant reduction in the use of plastics, and thus its waste, is one of the key steps towards a sustainable future.
Sustainable restaurants are also very important, especially if you take into account the fact that recent analyzes show that every third meal is eaten outside the home, which has a huge impact on communities and the environment. Taking into account that the HoReCa sector must deal with the creation of menus on a daily basis, to guarantee the quality and safety of food procurement, to take care of waste (eg food residues and the creation of plastic waste), energy and water consumption, etc. – it is not difficult to see the importance of solving all these aspects of business in a sustainable and long-term feasible way. Practical knowledge, solutions and benefits of sustainability are what our Guide to Sustainable Restaurants (free on metro.rs) offers to our customers, on the occasion of Sustainable Gastronomy Day. It is also a way to share our knowledge, experience and expertise with HoReCa partners.

How does this help your professional customers, especially in the HoReCa sector?
Our main goal is to be a reliable business partner to professional customers, especially the HoReCa sector, which has, indeed, gone through a difficult period during the pandemic. Although a speedy recovery seems possible, it takes time to fully recover from the pre-pandemic situation. Our job is to provide help and support to HoReCa partners in running a successful business. This always means providing a diverse range of products and services, which comply with the highest standards of quality and safety, but in a situation where we face major changes – we believe that we can offer our customers and partners something more than usual. In this way, we show them how they can be part of the driving force of these changes, but we also provide them with concrete solutions and tools for their implementation. It is something that will ensure the long-term business future of all of us together.
Local food producers are becoming an increasingly relevant choice for retailers, wholesalers and end customers. Does METRO, as a HoReCa partner, also consider local producers an important partner?
Customers prefer local products, which is why 65% of our range consists of domestic products.
Locally produced fruits and vegetables make up 75% of our offer, while the rest is imported, mainly because Serbia does not produce, for example, oranges, bananas and a similar assortment. Also, 85% of dairy products in METRO come from Serbia. The same percentage applies to meat, which comes from Serbian farms. It all starts with the understanding that local products are always the best choice and have great taste.
When you choose domestic products, you also reduce the negative impact of transporting goods – from costs to the emission of harmful gases, but you also shorten the supply time and the logistics process, which means that fresh products reach customers much faster. A very important aspect of local product selection is that it affects sustainability. Local products support the domestic economy. Also, more importantly, we support small entrepreneurs backed by whole families, which makes our approach even more valuable.
We recently launched an initiative with the Ministry of Agriculture to support the development and greater visibility of products with a geographical origin and a certificate. We helped honey producers from eastern Serbia to become part of our offer, and this is the first time that we can see Homologous honey on the shelves of a wholesale store. We want to continue to support local products with geographical origin because they have outstanding quality, which deserves to be part of our offer, and we want to help these producers have more successful businesses, BizLife reports.