Each month we highlight a company we have researched and features on our Ethical Screening Portal, this month we look at Premier Foods.
Food Producers Sector
The Food Producers sector is made up of companies that grow crops, raise livestock, operate fisheries or own plantations. It also includes those manufacturing food products, including snacks, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, frozen seafood, and meatpacking.
The production of food has inherently positive characteristics namely providing, nutrition and health benefits for the global population. However, there are negative issues related to the sector including high levels of food waste, and food can be poor quality, potentially contributing to obesity and malnutrition. High energy and water use can be associated with processing, as well as labour and human rights issues on farms and plantations and in the sourcing of ingredients in the supply chain. Animal welfare, linked to intensive farming can also be a concern.
As an example, of how companies in the sector attempt to combat some of these negative issues, we have selected Premier Foods for its positive approach to tackling the issue of food waste.
Premier Foods is one of the UK’s largest food businesses. The company manufactures and distributes branded and own label food products in the UK, Europe and internationally, with 15 sites across the UK. Product categories include flavourings and seasonings; cooking sauces and accompaniments; quick meals, snacks, and soups; ambient desserts; and ambient cakes. Notable brands include Mr Kipling, Bisto, Lloyd Grossman, Batchelors and Ambrosia.
In 2021, the company established a new strategy, Enriching Life Through Food which sets out its challenge to fulfil its responsibility as a business by “making nutritious and sustainable food, contributing to a healthier planet and nourishing the lives of our colleagues and communities”, with targets set for 2030. Within this are the company’s targets for tackling food waste:
- Halve food waste and support suppliers to do the same by 2030, against a 2020 baseline.
- Redistribute 750 tonnes of food waste for human consumption annually.
- Donate one million meals per annum to those in food poverty.
These targets demonstrate the company commitment and by involving suppliers in the process, it is ensuring the issue is being addressed more widely throughout the sector. In 2021, the company reported that it redistributed 1,380 tonnes of product, exceeding the annual target of 750 tonnes. Premier Foods is also a signatory to the Waste and Resource Action Programme’s (WRAP) Courtauld Commitment 2030 – a voluntary agreement that enables collaborative action across the entire UK food chain to deliver farm-to-fork reductions in food waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water stress to help the UK food and drink sector achieve global environmental goals.
Food waste refers to any food products thrown away as opposed to being consumed, and can be categorised into by-product food waste (from the manufacturing or production process or agricultural practices); and expired products, leftovers and unsold food (from finished products). A large proportion of food waste typically ends up in landfill where it breaks down producing methane, a significant greenhouse gas. Food waste is also problematic morally and economically - millions of pounds worth of food is being thrown away each year, even when many people globally are going without enough to eat.
- Estimates indicate up to ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste (between 900m and 1.3bn tonnes).
- The UK wastes around 9.5 million tonnes of food a year, across households, hospitality and food service, food manufacture, and the retail and wholesale sectors.
- This equates to around £19 billion a year and is associated with around 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
- It is estimated that one in seven adults (7.3 million) are in food poverty in the UK.
- WRAP reports that, since 2007 the UK has had large-scale interventions aimed at reducing food waste across supply chains, and households. This has contributed to a reduction in post-farm-gate total food waste between 2007 and 2018 of around 15% (1.7 Mt) and a 21% reduction on a per capita basis.
- Additionally, between 2015 and 2020 redistribution of UK food surplus tripled, with 320,000 tonnes of food worth £1 billion saved from going to waste.
Premier Foods is a company that features on our Ethical Screening Portal. To find out more about this company, or our services please contact email@example.com