The first Lidl shop opened in Germany in 1973 and had only three employees. Now the chain operates about 120,000 stores in 31 countries across Europe and in the US, employing over 341,000 people.
Half-century old budget food retailer Lidl, with supermarket operations throughout Europe and in North America, has decided that meat proteins will play a smaller role as it works toward global sustainability and food security in its corporate mission. Our mission is largely a response to customer behavior, said the company’s chief buyer, Christoph Graf at the recent International Green Week, in Berlin. Lidl is reacting to and supporting consumer choice, he said, not dictating how people should live their lives. In addition to supporting individual choice, Lidl believes its strategy will serve the interests of the planet: to feed the 10 billion people expected in the next generation, the world’s food resources need to be more carefully managed.
Vegetarian and vegan alternatives will gradually replace animal-based foods through 2025 and beyond. Lidl believes meat production is not an environmentally sustainable activity. It will issue a report later in the year from a study it commissioned on the sustainability of different animal- and plant-based foods, showing how a move to plant-based foods can lessen adverse environmental impacts. It is about motivating people to eat products other than meat, Graf said. As a result, Lidl would be holding more themed weeks to promote meatless products.