- Ahold Delhaize is eliminating various "chemicals of concern" from its private label product formulations and packaging as part of a new sustainable chemistry commitment, the company noted in a press release.
- The initiative restricts a variety of toxic chemicals, including the classes of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and other chemicals, in store brand products sold across Ahold Delhaize's U.S. banners. Beginning next year, the company will also participate in the Chemical Footprint Project, which requires companies to report annually on their progress towards eliminating chemicals from their products and supply chains.
- The effort builds on other initiatives from Ahold Delhaize to clean up its private label ingredients lists. Last year, the company announced it would remove all artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners as well as MSG and high-fructose corn syrup from its store brand items by 2025.
Ahold Delhaize has been feeling pressure from its shoppers, competitors and from nonprofit reporting groups to clean up its products and packaging. Safer Chemicals' annual Mind the Store report awarded Ahold Delhaize an "F" in 2017 and 2018 for its chemical policies and implementation programs.
However, the nonprofit applauded the grocer's latest announcement. "The company’s new chemicals policy signals a notable improvement to its approach to addressing chemicals of concern," Safer Chemicals said in a press release.
Consumers have made it clear they want simpler ingredient lists and less-processed foods. They also value transparency in food and beverage, with 70% reporting in a 2017 report by Response Media that product transparency influences their purchasing decisions.
All these forces have spurred recent action from retailers. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods last year announced they would phase out per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from store packaging after news outlets reported on their poor performance in Safer Chemicals' rankings. Companies like Hy-Vee and SpartanNash have also made commitments to clean up ingredients across their private label portfolio.