2020: An update on our Food Loss and Waste Strategy
As one of the UK’s leading meat producers, we value the expertise and passion that goes into food every step of the way. For this reason we don’t want to see any food going to waste. With food waste in the UK responsible for more than 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and hunger severely impacting 4.7m people, everyone must take responsibility for avoiding waste wherever possible in our view.
Since we joined the global food waste coalition Champions 12.3 and made a public commitment to play our part in halving global food loss and waste, we have been working hard over the last three years to reduce food waste not just within our own farms and factories, but across our entire value chain.
We are delighted to announce that in 2019 we have surpassed the Champions 12.3 target, achieving a 61% reduction in edible food waste, removing over 4,216 tonnes of food waste against our 2017 position which now represents just 0.4% of the food we produce.
Liz Goodwin, Senior Fellow & Director on Food Loss and Waste at the World Resources Institute said, "Food is such a vital part of our social and cultural heritage, but the current way our food is produced and wasted is crossing several planetary boundaries. By already surpassing the Champions 12.3 target, Cranswick has shown that with innovation, collaboration, behavioural advocacy plus their desire to address food inequality, the food industry can play a crucial role in making a positive impact on the environment and in the community."
We’ve been working with our passionate tribe of Changemakers, our volunteers that are committed to rolling out and testing new ideas that deliver positive change. Every site has its own food waste program, and it’s because of the dedicated efforts of all our colleagues that we’ve reduced food waste tonnage by 61% over the past three years (67% intensity reduction).
We may have achieved the target early, but we are committed to continue this progress by targeting zero food waste excluding inedible parts. By clearly and consistently communicating the widespread impact of food waste our Changemakers have created a deeply-rooted mindset that food that can’t be used as intended is not ‘waste’, but rather a valuable resource that has the potential to change lives for the better. This is why, after implementing new technologies and processes to minimise as much waste as possible at its source, we take what’s left and ensure it goes to those in need.
We make a difference by drawing on four key business differentiators:
VERTICALLY INTEGRATED SUPPLY CHAINS – We farm, as well as produce and supply, meat products. This means we can not only offer full traceability of our products from farm to fork, but this vertical integration gives us greater control over our supply chain and food waste arising, enabling us to swiftly identify and target any hotspots. We achieved zero waste to landfill by 2020 and are encouraging responsible waste management using the waste hierarchy across the business.
STRIVING FOR ZERO FOOD WASTE – For us, this means eliminating edible food losses and waste entirely from our operations by 2030. How do we do it? First, we apply the global World Resource Institute Food Loss and Waste Standard which enables us to not only map production hotspots where waste occurs, but understand the root cause behind these losses. We then focus our efforts on moving food waste up the hierarchy; prioritising redistribution over energy recovery where possible. We have identified that most of our edible food loss and waste occurs during production due to process issues, equipment failures and human error such as spillages. We are taking action to resolve these issues by investing in innovative processing techniques to reduce wastage and increasing staff training, such as our new “How To Fight Food Loss and Waste” guide to support colleagues.
“How businesses do what they do is more important to consumers than it’s ever been. The shift has gone away from what businesses do towards how they do it. That’s a good pressure for us as manufacturers to have in this industry.”
Sam Pearl, Site Director, Cranswick Convenience Foods Milton Keynes from Build Back Better: Fixing the Future of Food Report
PRIORITISING PREVENTION – By engaging all of our employees we’ve been able to pinpoint areas for improvement across the board, such as finding new markets for our ham trim packs and moving materials up the waste hierarchy so they can be used in new products rather than waste, such as pet food. We’ve installed new catch-trays to prevent meat from falling on the floor and explored new packaging that increases shelf life.
We’re now working on more creative ways to get to zero. The FareShare ‘Surplus with Purpose’ funding supported by the Government has been a huge help to businesses like ours, to get food we are unable to sell donated to people. From January to June 2020 in partnership with FareShare alone, we have donated over 87 tonnes of surplus food to charities across the UK, the equivalent of over 207,000 meals.
We used to send sausagemeat left at the end of a production run to anaerobic digestion, but we realised we could turn this residual meat into sausages to help feed hungry mouths. We accessed the Government and FareShare’s ‘Surplus with Purpose’ fund to help cover the operational and labour costs of piping, packaging, labelling and freezing. This action alone enabled FareShare to scale up its impact by sending enough sausages to help create over 207,000 additional meals.
BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES – As part of the food supply chain, we’re taking an active role in fighting hunger by sharing and donating good quality, nutritionally dense food which increases diet diversity and supports people who, for varied reasons, are struggling financially.
We make sure that we share surplus with our colleagues and we are ensuring good employment opportunities are available, we have a strong apprenticeship scheme and are working with disadvantaged groups to help address the root causes of food poverty.
Our Changemakers have forged close relationships with food charities throughout the UK. Thanks to our Hull Food Save Project we’ve developed close ties with EMS, a community-focused company that works with residents, community groups and local businesses to alleviate food and fuel poverty across the Hull region. By providing donations from a number of our sites, we’ve been able to help them provide around 170 fresh and nutritious meals a week for community fridges around Hull. Each meal serves a family of four. Find out more from Marcus, Managing Director at Cranswick Gourmet Sausage Co. who is a Trustee for EMS.
“The power of good food in bringing people together can’t be underestimated. When a company like Cranswick goes out of their way to provide fresh, locally produced produce for us to create meals with, that has a real impact on peoples lives and the wider community.”
Jan Boyd, CEO, EMS Yorkshire
Our continued work with food charities and community groups has helped us divert enough food from waste and donations to create over 250,000 meals for vulnerable people. Working alongside food sharing networks and charities such as FareShare, Trussel Trust, EMS, Plan Zheroes, TLG Make Lunch, local Food Banks and Community Fridge Projects we’re supporting our local communities.
Our efforts have also been recognised as industry-leading by The Grocer for the last two years as a finalist in their Gold Awards. Tesco recently recognised us as a supplier taking significant action on food waste – something we are very proud of. But our achievements would not be possible without company-wide support to deliver our Second Nature sustainability strategy. Thank you to all colleagues and our wider network.