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True pricing in practice: How a local organic supermarket is challenging the food system
Meet Maarten Rijninks, the owner of De Aanzet, a revolutionary organic supermarket that’s challenging the status quo of our food system. Nestled in the heart of Amsterdam, De Aanzet is more than just a grocery store; it’s a heaven for those seeking organic, biodynamic, and locally-sourced products. In our interview with Maarten, we delve into his inspiring journey of turning De Aanzet into the first True Price supermarket.
True Price Unveiled at De Aanzet
Maarten’s introduction to True Price came through Michel Scholte, who is the co-founder of True Price along with Adrian de Groot Ruiz. Inspired by Michel’s compelling presentation in 2019, Maarten couldn’t resist the allure of tackling a challenge considered too difficult by many. He took the reins at De Aanzet and embarked on a mission to prove that a supermarket could champion true pricing.
According to Maarten, it wasn’t a quick transformation. It took three years of meticulous preparation and effective communication for customers to embrace the concept of paying for the true costs of their products. Maarten’s enthusiasm shines through as he reveals his plans to introduce a true price brand for dry groceries by year-end.
On the Path of Remediation
Beyond just calculating the true price, Maarten believes the real challenge lies in remediation — addressing the hidden costs and remediating the damage, before other retailers can be lined up. These hidden costs include, for example, environmental degradation caused by farming practices, carbon emissions from transportation, and social implications of underpaid labor in the supply chain. Maarten has rolled up his sleeves and is actively working to reduce the environmental footprint of his products, collaborating closely with wholesalers, farmers and FairMatch – a specialized supply chain organization. One project to create tangible results on short notice and one ambitious project which involves transitioning a couple of farmers to fossil-free farming—a pioneering initiative that’s both innovative and long-term.
Maarten doesn’t attempt to remediate every product; instead, they focus together on farms that contribute significantly to his inventory. He emphasizes that it’s not feasible to remediate every item with a few hundred euros, but a step-by-step approach is essential, guided by trust—trust from clients and constantly improving the process.
He’s also part of a project with True Price and other retailers, centered on remediation in Peru and the Dominican Republic, primarily concerning bananas. While it’s still early days for this venture, Maarten eagerly awaits the insights that will emerge.
A vision for the future
Maarten mentions that traditional supermarkets are taking notice of the little oasis that is De Aanzet. They’re surprised to find a small organic supermarket making waves in their midst. For Maarten, it’s proof that true pricing can work and thrive even in the most unexpected places. He acknowledges that currently, it’s mainly other supermarkets reaping the benefits of his pioneering efforts, but he doesn’t mind. He thrives on the challenge and believes that a movement is needed to bring about real change.
Looking ahead, Maarten envisions a future where the environmental footprint of products in his store diminishes. He’s hopeful that national and European legislation will one day mandate true pricing for all supermarkets, positioning De Aanzet as a cost-effective choice since hidden costs won’t be a factor.