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Grocery co-ops open doors to non-members to prevent food waste

10:08 05/07/2023

Co-operative grocery stores around Belgium are allowing non-members to shop in their stores this summer to curb food waste.

Six stores in Brussels are among those taking part in the initiative. Between 15 July and 15 August, anyone will be able to shop at these co-operative stores that usually require membership to access, Bruzz reports.

The stores want to show solidarity with food producers, as Belgian farmers produce more during the summer months but many customers are on holiday, meaning not everything gets sold.

“Normally, only our members can shop here,” said Geneviève Boxus of Bees Coop in Schaerbeek.

“Last year we opened our doors as an emergency measure because our vegetable growers contacted us in a panic. We've decided to do it again this year.”

The action is nationwide but the six stores in Brussels are Bees Coop, Le Pédalo in Ixelles, wAnderCoop in Anderlecht, Bos Coop in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Bab'l Market in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Bloum in Forest.

Most of these stores operate on a participation basis, with members volunteering about three hours a month in the shop.

The shift system allows the stores to reduce costs and maintain a low profit margin. One exception to the volunteer model is Bloum, where members are instead charged a monthly fee.

Written by Helen Lyons