Cranswick eclipses international food waste reduction target, achieving 61% reduction more than a decade earlier than planned

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Cranswick plc. has surpassed the Champions 12.3 Target set in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seeks to halve food waste and loss by 2030; instead achieving a 61% reduction in edible food waste across the business in under three years. The reduction represents the elimination of over 4,216 tonnes of food waste, and waste now accounts for just 0.4% of total food produced.

The achievement is testament to the significant effort made within the company to combat food waste at every stage, starting with new technologies and processes to minimise potential loss at source, and leading right through to taking production overruns to those who need them.

Led by Cranswick’s ‘Changemakers’, who champion food waste reduction efforts internally and host events for all colleagues, the main steps have been:

PRIORITISING PREVENTION

  • Colleagues were engaged to focus on areas identified for improvement in a food loss and waste hot spot mapping exercise. This process led to innovations such as finding new markets for ham trim packs and moving materials up the waste hierarchy so they can be used in new edible products (such as pet food) rather than being sent to landfill or anaerobic digestors. New catch-trays have been installed to prevent meat from falling on the floor and new packaging is being used that increases shelf life.
  • A huge help to the prioritising prevention strategy came from the FareShare ‘Surplus with Purpose’ funding supported by the Government. This has enabled us to redistribute product that previously would not have been donated. As a result of this partnership with FareShare, 87 tonnes of surplus food have been donated to charities across the UK from January to June 2020. That is equivalent to more than 207,000 meals.

BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES

  • Food poverty has tripled in 2020 due to the economic and social impacts of Covid-19 (source: FareShare). While mindful of the longer term goal to eliminate any need for food banks, Cranswick has taken an active role to fight hunger in the interim by sharing and donating good quality, nutrition rich food which increases diet diversity and supports people who are struggling financially.
  • Cranswick Changemakers have forged close relationships with food charities throughout the UK. By providing surplus meat from a number of sites in Hull, EMS, a community-focused company, has been able to provide around 170 fresh and nutritious family meals a week for community fridges around the city. Continued work with food charities and community groups such as FareShare, Trussel Trust, EMS, Plan Zheroes, TLG Make Lunch, local Food Banks and Community Fridge Projects has helped Cranswick divert enough food from waste to create over 250,000 donated meals for vulnerable people.
  • To help tackle the longer-term root causes of food poverty, Cranswick has committed to providing good employment opportunities, a strong apprenticeship scheme and programmes of work with disadvantaged groups in areas local to their various sites.

Looking to the future, Cranswick is determined to build on this success by targeting zero food waste excluding inedible parts, which is above and beyond current industry targets.

The company also wants to share its most successful strategies and best practices, including learnings from its involvement in the 10 x 20 x 30 initiative launched by the World Resources Institute, to help educate and inspire others across the industry.

Chris Aldersley, chief operating officer at Cranswick plc. says: “Beating the Champions 12.3 target on food waste so substantially gives us confidence that zero edible food waste is achievable. We need to get even more resourceful as we strive to get to zero edible food waste, which I am sure we will do with the support from the incredible people across our business.

Liz Goodwin, Champions 12.3 spokesperson and Senior Fellow and Director of Food Loss and Waste at the World Resources Institute adds,

“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.”

Jan Boyd, CEO, EMS Yorkshire, says: “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 ingredients with which we can create meals, that has a real impact on people’s lives and the wider community.”