With dozens of Delhazie outlets having been closed to the public for over a week, items in the shops are reaching their expiry dates. While uncovered items must be thrown away, many items have been donated to charity.
There are still over 80 Delhaize shops closed due to staff protesting the announcement made last Tuesday by Delhaize to franchise the remaining shops under its management.
Many of the unsold products on the shelves of the closed stores have expiry dates that will render them unsellable once shops reopen.
Donated or binned
The unsold items are sorted by the heads of departments at Delhazie. Afsca, the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, requires that unpackaged foodstuffs, such as meat, are thrown out. Products which are packaged and dated are all given away to associations. It's quite impressive
Adrien Scarbotte, from one such association – Une Main Tendue, which makes food parcels for people in need – spoke with RTL Info about his mission to ensure as little food ends up in the bin as possible. "The Delhaize store in Bouge (Namur) is closed because of the strikes, so we go and get everything they haven't been able to sell."
With the spare time on their hands, while they were in the closed Delhaize shop, employees called the charity. Adrien received 35 crates of perishables from the shop: "It's quite impressive," Scarbotte said. "There are olives, cheese, cold cuts, sausages, yoghurts, pizzas... In fact, there is a little bit of everything."
- Delhaize strike actions: Some stores to stay closed until end of week
- Delhaize shops remain closed: Unions walk out of talks with management
The donations are again checked in order to create food parcels, and with the Delhaize strike, there is no shortage of work at the volunteer centre.
"We never have this much. This is exceptional," said volunteer Patricia De Coeyer. The unsold goods are also used to prepare hot meals.
In exchange, Delhaize can claim the VAT on the donated food back, although this will only represent a fraction of the money it has lost since the start of the strike.