Tuesday saw the launch of the social food platform “Soli-Food” at the social grocery store Amphora in Molenbeek. Repis (network of social grocery stores) instigated the platform through the intervention of, among others, the federation of social services and the Belgian Red Cross. The platform will allow food aid enterprises to offer a wider range of products sold at a discount.
Uccle CPAS (public centre for social welfare) has made a 150m2 warehouse available to the project. 15 associations are already involved and phase 1 of the project will last until the end of 2015.
Grégoire Van Zeebroeck is the coordinator of the “Soli-Food” platform and previously worked in the supermarket sector. He explains the aim is to find a solution to the zero profit margin (or sometimes negative profit margin) suffered by the industry. “We needed to find ways to reduce the purchase value of products and help us better plan and organise food delivery,” he clarifies. “There is a real need for this in the food industry. Several associations are on a waiting list. There are currently are approximately 80 social grocery stores in Belgium, of which 7 or 8 are in Brussels, and many more are being set up. They are also another way to approach food aid. It is not just a question of distributing food parcels. A social grocery store is a means of integration.”
This initiative is supported by the Emploi-Environnement alliance, a program managed by Brussels authorities.