This morning I visited with Helio of Pao de Acucar grocery stores (www.paodeacucar.com.br). He is the agronomist consultant I met at Hiromi farm in Mogi Das Cruzes. He had invited me to tour their first green store! He was very excited and proud to show me what they are doing to educate their consumer on being environmentally sustainable.
From pulling into the "green store" parking lot it is evident they are serious. In addition to handicap and senor parking by the door, they have premier parking for people with fuel efficient or ethanol car. In the parking lot, there is also a recycling program for their customers to recycle - glass, plastic, aluminium, paper, and cooking oil. Since there is not state program, Pao de Acucar has started there own. This has accelerated the development of the supporting industries.
The carts and baskets are made from recycled plastic and reuse able bags are encouraged. They also have immediate recycling at check out which means if you buy something that comes with alot of paper packaging, you can remove and leave the paper at the store.
In the store, there are constant educational signs about being environmentally conscience. There is information on the produce that is available. Again, from my post of June 9th, they have a produce tracking system that allows consumers to see exactly where each fresh produce item comes from. All produce is carefully displace, recipes offered for unusual items. Items are identified if they are local or organic. After its freshness date, produce is composted and sold back to their farmers. Again, this is a new business developed.
In the fish market, items are displayed fresh. After one day, fish is removed from the case and sold frozen. (you will be shocked by the pictures) Frozen foods are not popular here and only fill one case in the store.
The store also offers a section of items produced by small artisans that do not have access to large markets as part of their commitment to social development.
The market also offers a full cheese shop, a wine shop with a consultant, a prepared food market and....of course....a coffee and snack bar! They have just added a new line of items around health with a line of sports clothing, health drinks and powders and beauty items.
In sitting down with Helio, he admits the market is in the business to make money but they want to go about it in a socially and environmentally sustainable way. They are committed to educating their consumer. They look often at American and Global trends. I look forward to staying in touch with Helio to see the new programs they develop and how they can impact the economic success of their producers and communities.