New report to prepare EU Ecolabel for food retail stores launched

The SuperSmart team has published a 186 pages report freely available to all interested parties around planning and optimising food retail stores in Europe. The report “Development of the EU Ecolabel criteria for food retail stores” is the first of two reports to provide all relevant background information for the development of a future EU Ecolabel for supermarkets. It consists of an analysis of the scope, definitions and description of the legal framework; a market analysis; and an overview of existing technical Life Cycle Assessment studies. The report reveals the significant environmental impact of food retail stores and their potential to be optimised by way of fulfilling a set of criteria under the voluntary EU Ecolabel.

While the report serves as concrete input to the working process of the EU Ecolabelling Board, it contains information of interest to all food retailers and their partners in building, equipping, maintaining and disposing of buildings and their equipment in Europe.

The report is available on the “Downloads” section:

Report content

The document, written by 17 authors from eight project partners, features the following topics:

  • Product scope and definition: The report investigates existing EU Ecolabel product groups, services and facilities that could be of relevance for defining ambitious and realistic criteria for a potential future Ecolabel on European food retail stores. Among the categories to be considered for supermarkets from existing Ecolabel criteria are energy, water, detergents, waste, other services, and general management. The report also outlines existing national ecolabelling schemes specifically for food retail stores, such as the Blue Angel or the Nordic Swan label, that could serve as a reference for developing EU-wide homogeneous criteria. Finally, this chapter draws attention to relevant legislative issues driving Europe’s food retail sector to adopt a more sustainable approach, including the Ecodesign Directive and the F-Gas Regulation. 
  • Market analysis: Chapter 3 provides a summary overview of the global and European food retail market in terms of size and consolidation trends, its major economic and social drivers, as well as key incentives for sustainable practices and barriers to achieving them. It also investigates how widespread the use of national ecolabels, building certifications and other environment-related programmes is across the EU. 
  • Technical and environmental analysis: Chapter 4 elaborates first on the technical analysis of food retail stores, including  on the location, building envelope, interior design, and the equipment being used. The chapter then continues to an environmental analysis, in particular for an application of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, including the methodology used, results from selected case studies and best environmental management practices. Finally, it draws attention to the social impacts from food retail, like the impact on local economy and neighbourhoods. 
  • Improvement potential areas: The final chapter talks about the suggested environmental and social improvement areas, based on the previous analysis. 

Become a Labeling Board member, join our next workshop at ISH

The SuperSmart team is continuously working on defining the the criteria for Europe’s future sustainable food retail stores. The next set of criteria, in the area of the building's energy use and environmental factors (buildings, energy management systems, lighting, use of renewable energies etc.), are currently being developed n cooperation with the EU-wide network of voluntary experts. If you are interested in joining this Labeling Board, or simply to provide input to the Ecolabel development, please contact us at

The next concrete opportunity to have your say is on 15 March, from 2-5 pm, when the 2nd Labeling Board Assembly is being held during the ISH trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. Please register for one of the limited spots using this link:

About the EU Ecolabel

The EU Ecolabel, or “ecoflower”, was introduced in 1992 by the European Commission to develop a voluntary, EU-wide environmental labelling scheme that consumers could trust. The award scheme considers the environmental impact of products, services and facilities across their entire life cycle. Criteria are reviewed every 3-4 years to ensure they remain in line with science-based information and technology state-of-the-art. Most of the 38,760 products carrying the label are for household or office use. So far only two types of facilities can apply for the EU Ecolabel: tourist accommodations and campsite services. Food retail stores would be the 3rd such holistic category integrating a range of 21 categories of criteria.

About SuperSmart

SuperSmart is project funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020-EE-14-2015 programme, to speed up the uptake of more energy-efficient refrigeration, heating and cooling solutions for Europe’s food retail sector by reducing its energy use, lowering its environmental footprint, and increasing its economic benefits. Two of its major aims is to provide free educational material and training sessions to the European food retail sector, and to establish the catalogue of draft criteria for a future EU Ecolabel on food retail stores. It brings to together nine partners from eight countries.