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Customer case
Colruyt Group

Systematic market watch for sustainable food

Colruyt Group is a family business that in three generations has grown into a retail group with more than 30,000 employees and a varied portfolio of food and non-food formulas in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Colruyt Group consists of more than forty brands, mainly known for the food retail trade, but also active in non-food, fuels, wholesale and food services.

Sustainability runs like a thread through all activities. Colruyt Group takes on major challenges and opportunities to protect natural resources and build thriving ecosystems through technology, innovation and new ways of working together.

Colruyt Group has been using DataScouts for a long time. Moreover, given the strategic importance of reliable market insights for good decision-making, Colruyt Group has decided to invest in the further growth of the DataScouts Market & Competitive Intelligence Platform, to have systematic market watch for sustainable food.


The world around us is changing rapidly, becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. The world is evolving from clear boundaries and demarcations to 'blurring' in various areas, including the traditional distinction between producer and consumer, brands and customers. Sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food, hospitality and retail are converging.

The classic role of the retailer as a link in the chain is coming under pressure or is being disintermediated. On the supply side, brands will eliminate the traditional 'middle man' wherever possible. In doing so, they will save costs and meet the growing demand for price transparency, on-demand product variety and total consumer empowerment. On the demand side, consumers are increasingly transforming themselves into 'prosumers' in a participatory economy.


In recent years, Colruyt Group has diversified its offer, tapped new markets (energy, health, fashion) and introduced product innovations (liquid ice, hydrogen, vertical agriculture, ...).

The diversification strategy in a continuously evolving landscape requires accurate and data-driven insights into the state and evolution of society and markets, combined with the ability to translate these insights into strategic, tactical and operational choices in line with the corporate strategy.

Colruyt Group implemented DataScouts as a strategic instrument for a systematic market watch for sustainable food (sustainable marine nutrition). Systematic market watch for sustainability food, in which key players and major consumer, market and technology trends are continuously monitored, gives Colruyt Group a better understanding of the dynamics of the ecosystem and identifies potential partners to strengthen the ecosystem.


Colruyt Group strongly believes in the potential of the Belgian North Sea for the cultivation of local and sustainable marine proteins, such as mussels, oysters and seaweed, and in the important economic and social added value of aquaculture projects.

Together with other companies, knowledge institutions and governments, Colruyt Group laid the building blocks for the Belgian aquaculture sector. Accurate data and insights help Colruyt to further develop the Belgian aquaculture ecosystem and to play an active role in research and innovation together with academic and technological partners.

Setting up a systematic market monitoring of the Blue Economy in Belgium started with a thorough mapping and profiling of all stakeholders involved in the Blue Cluster and more specifically in aquaculture in Belgium, with the ambition to monitor the heartbeat of the blue economy in Belgium. We combined the perspectives of the Engineering team, which is closely involved in all activities related to the cultivation and harvesting of Belgian mussels in hanging culture, with the Public Relations network, which manages all (public) stakeholders involved in innovation projects and the application for the exploitation permit for the sea farm in project zone C in the North Sea. We made a benchmark with the Dutch North Sea farm ecosystem and analysed the business models of sea farms and multi-use platforms in Norway, Ireland, France and the United Kingdom.

As the Belgian aquaculture ecosystem develops from the early adopters, Colruyt Group is interested in using DataScouts to identify strategic partners to build a vibrant cross-disciplinary ecosystem that enables a locally embedded sustainable value chain.

The focus for the scouting partners is determined by the strategic objectives related to aquaculture and sustainable seafood incl.

  •  Producing and harvesting mussels, oysters and seaweed in one location (offshore)
  • Developing a multi-user platform incl. new business and operating models
  • Achieving Natura 2020 targets incl. eco-tourism and education
  • Improving efficiency through automation, including computer vision / drones / VR & AR


Around the world, land-based aquaculture facilities are increasingly being considered as a more sustainable alternative to open-water fish farms. Based upon former research projects conducted by the Colruyt R&D team, RAS (recirculation aquaculture system) was identified as the most suitable technology.

Within the process of building and validating the business case, a deep dive was required to gain more insight into the dynamics and trends in the market and to build a more complete picture of land-based aquaculture facilities across multiple products.

Using DataScouts, we mapped the various players along the value chain. We looked at both producers and breeding houses in Europe. We identified relationships between parties, joint research projects, patent publications, strategic collaborations, acquisitions and investments. This was done via a dedicated instance of the DataScouts Market Monitor to map stakeholders, profile the companies using (financial) company data, patent publications, funding information and relationship extraction & modelling.

The insights are translated into the strategic recommendations. The platform allows the Business Analyst to refresh the data at any time and analyse the evolution over time.

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