SUS-CHAIN: Case Studies

G: Tegut – supermarket sourcing and promoting regional organic products

The foundation of this food retailer leads back into the year 1947. The successful family-business Tegut has two main particularities: at first, its strong quality-orientated policy, secondly, its strong position in a specific region in the very middle of Germany. Tegut is ranked 22nd on the list of Germany’s biggest food retailers.

The Tegut-philosophy is based on high quality food, reflected in the slogan ‘Tegut… gute Lebensmittel’ (Tegut – good food). The most recent example of this quality-orientated integrating policy was the development of the brand Rhoengut and the creation of a new production site, where the products of this brand, special meat and sausage products, are processed. Rhoengut links organic produce with a special, innovative and typical processing (dry cured hams ads sausages from beef and meat). The brand is exclusively available in Tegut Supermarkets and in Alnatura Organic Food Stores. Rhoengut is foremost addressing to support the rural economy through defending and conserving employment and income. It improves the sustainability and the attractiveness of the rural areas. The slogan ‘Rhoengut – Naturgereift in Rhoener Hoehenluft’ (naturally ripened in the mountain air) embodies regional identification, natural production and the healthy environment. The brand Rhoengut uses territorial and local resources. It represents particularly well the main values of Tegut with regard to regional commitment and sustainable development.

The success of Rhoengut is illustrated by 40% growth rates, a new production plant and a rising number of farmers that produce for the initiative. Rhoengut is a commercial project of Tegut and relies upon the commercial performance and professionalism of the company. There is no public support for the activities of Rhoengut. On the contrary, public administration hindered the development of Rhoengut because of difficult and length of the accreditation processes with regard to processing and building permits.

The scaling up of Rhoengut will lead, most likely and in the near future, to more formal and reciprocal linkage with farmers. This might strengthen farmers position and render Teguts engagement in the region more compulsive. The initiative Rhoengut supports the rural economy because it ensures and creates new jobs and increases farmers’ income, foremost of organic farms who, before Rhoengut was put up, had no sales options in the region. Additional value added is created within the region. The initiative Rhoengut indirectly strengthens local and regional capacity to self organisation and self governance by investing in a local meat processing plant and by forming farmers in quality production. Furthermore, through the special extension service, Tegut in the Rhoengut initiative contributes to strengthen farmers’ competence in production, resource management and marketing. Rhoengut incites farmers to take up organic farming and animal friendly husbandry. It varies the production by the introduction of new breeds or by the compulsory use of traditional breeds. By rendering more attractive traditional grazing practices, the initiative contributes to the maintenance of typical landscape by adapted husbandry systems.

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