Distribution platform for sustainable food products in Brussels

April 24, 2013

Contributor:   Rob Renaerts, Brussels

Workshop: Resource efficiency – CO2 reduction /   Small scale transportation –  Food hub/logistic platform

Since two years we have been trying to set up a distribution platform for sustainable products but do to several difficulties (practical, commercial…) we have not yet succeeded.

In Brussels delivering (sustainable) food products to restaurants, shop and kitchens has been a problem since many years do to traffic yams. This makes that despite the demand for  sustainable local products farmers are not able to sell there products directly to consumers or professional organisations.

Small farmers who want to deliver there products to Brussels and locale delivery services of sustainable products (mostly based outside Brussels) are looking to find a solution to this problem. This would help the local business who now depend on the delivery services of big distribution platforms who only deliver once a week and do not have “buying local” high on their priority list.

Starting from the ideal situation, several ideas like transportation with small electric vehicles, bicycles, a HUB next to the canal for transport over water and the possibility or combining the distribution platform with an local producers market, an social restaurant… have been showing great promise. Partners have been found for these flanking initiatives.


Unfortunately the main activity: distributing local sustainable products is proving to be a huge challenge. Different strategies have failed:

  • linking small local distributes and farmers together did not work because of the fear of losing the market share
  •  linking up with a new distributer of organic products wanting to start up business in Brussels failed because of problems with the location
  • creating a cooperative of local farmers is difficult hence Brussels only has 1 farmer.

So despite the need for this project (both on the side of offer and demand), the willingness of the government to provide support and the good intentions of several organisations, we are still not yet starting to create a Brussels distribution platform.


My question therefore is simple: Does anyone has any ideas?