Bangladesh – a country of over 160m people – is in the midst of a massive transformation.
So says ACI Logistics, which runs Shwapno – Bangladesh’s largest retail chain.
Rapid economic growth and urbanisation are leading to unprecedented changes in consumer behaviour and presenting new supply challenges in Bangladesh, ACI wrote in a GlobalGAP newsletter upon becoming affiliated with the food standard.
The majority of urban Bangladeshi consumers still shop from traditional wet markets, which are unregulated, ACI explained. Yet food safety has become one of the greatest public health concerns in Bangladesh.
“Widespread use of chemical fertilisers, artificial ripeness, preservatives and other harmful additives [in wet markets] have compromised the entire supply chain,” it said.
“Ensuring food safety has always been one of Shwapno’s core values. Apart from establishing its own quality assurance systems (including supplier vetting, testing for additives), Shwapno has been a leading advocate for promoting consumer rights in Bangladesh, by not only raising industry standards but also actively conducting public awareness drives for food safety, nutrition and sustainability issues,” ACI said.
Two-thirds of all the fruits, vegetables, fish and meat products found on Shwapno shelves are sourced directly from farms across Bangladesh, it explained.
“The fortune of countless [Bangladeshi] farmers is deeply tied to the company: not only because they depend on ACI Logistics to get fair prices for their produce, but also because of the urgent necessity of introducing sustainable agricultural practices and new farming technology,” ACI said.
Considering the company’s growth and broad footprint across the country, ACI Logistics says it has a major role to play in shaping Bangladesh’s future.
Adoption of HACCP standards is part of the company’s longtime efforts to provide end-to-end quality assurance for its customers. Joining GLOBALGAP will support this cause at a practical level, ACI added.
Shwapno is the largest retail chain in Bangladesh with 56 outlets across the country.
Launched in 2008, Shwapno currently serves more than 32,000 customers a day, offering everything from fresh produce to daily household goods and broader lifestyle categories.
ACI Logistics is part of ACI Limited, one of the largest business conglomerates in Bangladesh.
ACI’s emergence as one of the largest agricultural sector aggregators in Bangladesh (through its subsidiary ACI Agribusiness) inspired the company’s “Seed to Shelf” vision: connecting the country’s farmers directly with consumers, to offer the best value and quality to urban households, ACI said.