Belgium-based retailer Delhaize is to switch buying alliances from next year, the company has announced.

From 1 January next year, Delhaize, a member of the European Marketing Distribution (EMD) consortium, will join AMS.

Delhaize, which joined EMD in 2001, said French retailer Systeme-U would also make the switch next year.

Renaud Cogels, head of global sourcing at Delhaize, said the move to AMS would improve the company's private-label "programmes".

Cogels added: "Private label products have become an increasingly important tool for differentiation and customer loyalty building, especially in our historical Belgian and European markets. Today more than ever, they also present a welcome alternative to consumers which purchasing power is under pressure."

AMS, which is based in the Netherlands, counts Ahold, UK grocer Morrisons, Finland-based group Kesko and Spanish retailer Caprabo among its members.

Officials at Systeme-U could not be reached for immediate comment.