Russian Mere Advances in Europe

Mere

Hard discounter chain Mere is expanding in Europe. The Russian chain, owned by parent company Torgservis, is already in Romania, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania Ukraine and Poland and has opened its fourth store in Germany. Mere wants to open ten stores in Belgium this year, it has secured its first store locations in Spain and will launch in the UK over the next few weeks. It is said to have plans to enter Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Hard discounter chain Mere is expanding in Europe. The Russian chain, owned by parent company Torgservis, is already in Romania, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania Ukraine and Poland and has opened its fourth store in Germany. Mere wants to open ten stores in Belgium this year, it has secured its first store locations in Spain and will launch in the UK over the next few weeks. It is said to have plans to enter Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Mere stores have a very simple and efficient concept with suppliers deliver directly to stores and products sold from pallets in a warehouse type environment. The assortment is limited to around 1,200 SKUs and priced on average 20% cheaper than the market.

With Aldi, Lidl and other discounters having upgraded their stores and enlarged their assortment in the past decade, this no-frills hard discounter may have found a gap in the market. The economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, declining purchasing power and consumer confidence could give the retailer a jump start in Europe and become a serious competitor for Aldi and Lidl.

EU allows dairy descriptive terms for plant-based items

The European Parliament has dropped Amendment 171, a bill which would have censored all use of dairy-related language for plant-based food. Regulations on dairy-free alternatives in the EU are already restrictive. Legislation passed in 2013, means words like “cheese,” or “yoghurt,” can only be used to describe milk-based products which must originate from animals.

This amendment would have gone further and would have prohibited dairy-related packaging formats, such as a carton for plant-based milk, or a block for plant-based butter. In addition, allergen information like “does not contain milk” and descriptive terms like “creamy” or “buttery” would not be allowed.

Plant-based food manufacturers, environmentalists and consumers had heavily criticised the proposed bill. They argue that consumers aren’t confused by descriptions of dairy alternative products and that a more sustainable production and consumption is desirable.