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Coop plans new logistics centre near Lausanne

Coop, Switzerland’s second largest retailer, is planning to build a new logistics and administrative centre for western Switzerland in the canton of Vaud at a cost of 88 million francs, the canton announced on Wednesday.

Coop plans new logistics centre near Lausanne
Artist's impression of new Coop centre in Aclens-Vufflens. Photo: Coop

The complex will be built next to an existing distribution centre for the cooperative in Aclens-Vufflens, a light-industrial area northwest of Lausanne with good rail connections.

The facility is scheduled to be operational by 2018, when Coop said it plans to close down its distribution centre dating from the 1950s and 1960s in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel.

All employees in La Chaux-de-Fonds (around 70 according to the ATS news agency) will be offered jobs elsewhere with the cooperative group, Coop said in a news release.

Meanwhile, it said employees (around 270) at an administrative site set for closure in Renens, near Lausanne, will be transferred to the new Aclens-Vufflens centre.

The go-ahead for the centre was linked to a decision by the Vaud cantonal government to build a new 5.5-kilometre road to Aclens-Vufflens, costing 75.5 million francs, that will connect with the A1 motorway.

The canton said in a statement that its investment is part of a strategy to develop a “dorsal spine” for rail-road logistics in Vaud.

Already, Coop services 42 retail outlets in Geneva by train from Aclens, which results in less truck traffic on the Lausanne-Geneva motorway.

The canton called the Coop development “excellent news for Vaud's economy”, while ATS reported that 1,400 jobs could be created at the site between now and 2023. 

Coop is also planning to develop a new rail hub in Bienne/Biel in the canton of Bern for multi-modal transportation, involving containers that can be carried by rail and by trucks.

This will help improve the efficiency of deliveries while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by “several hundreds of tonnes per year”.

Coop has a nationwide logistics and bakery strategy launched in 2010 that aims to optimize administration and commercial activities.

Construction has already begun on a new distribution and logistics centre in Schafisheim in the canton of Aargau, set to open this fall, followed by an industrial bakery there in the spring of 2016.

Earlier this year, Coop described the Schafisheim project as the largest private construction site in Switzerland.

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COOP

Swiss supermarket to start selling bug burgers

Swiss supermarket giant Coop will sell products containing insects, such as burgers and meatballs, from next spring, it has confirmed.

Swiss supermarket to start selling bug burgers
Cricket burger anyone? Photo: Coop

Up until now Swiss law specified that unusual foodstuffs such as insect-based products could not be sold without special authorization, but on Friday the federal food safety office (BLV) said it was simplifying the system. From May 1st 2017 any food product can be sold commercially as long as it respects food safety regulations.

Coop was quick to respond, saying it would be putting insect-based products on its shelves from next spring.

In a statement, the supermarket behemoth said it was working with Swiss startup Essento, which specializes in developing insect-based dishes, to create a range of “surprising” products containing insect proteins, including meatballs and burgers.

“The secret of our success  is due to our capacity to identify trends and innovate,” said Coop spokesman Roland Frefel.

Adding certain varieties of insects to processed products would allow customers to “discover a new world of flavours,” he added.

Insects are as rich in protein as meat and fish and contain essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids, however they remain an uncommon foodstuff in the Western world.

But that is changing as the world considers new ways to feed a population estimated to grow to nine billion by 2050. According to Fortune magazine, more than 25 startups offering bug products have launched in the US and Canada in the past few years.

A sustainable and ecological food source, insects emit less greenhouse gas and ammonia than conventional livestock, according to the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations.

They are also delicious, said Coop, pointing out that crickets taste a bit like chicken and weevils have a nutty flavour.

It remains to be seen if Swiss consumers will agree…

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