Our growers depend on nature to grow fruit and vegetables and we truly understand the natural value of our products like no other. We see it as our duty to manage all of our – mostly natural – resources in a responsible manner. We are committed to reduce waste to an absolute minimum in all our activities, from the processing of fruit and vegetables to the use of packaging materials. As a food producer, we also have a major impact on preventing food waste, both during production and at the consumer end.
Greenyard generates around 200,000 tonnes of by-products and waste each year. The lion’s share originates from processing activities in our Frozen and Prepared divisions, including washing and steam peeling of carrots, pulses and peas. The majority of this by-product flow is used today as animal feed. Another important source of food losses originates from limited shelf life and quality issues in the Fresh division. These represent the focus areas to reduce our waste streams.
The first and most important strategy to minimise waste is our “fork to field” strategy, which continuously matches customer demand with supply through – among others – planned production of our growers. This unique and fully integrated customer model ensures a low amount of food waste in all parts of the value chain.
We also have implemented an effective waste management system in our operations, focused on valorising and closing “waste” loops. There are five levels of action.
This year, we used about 82.860 tonnes of consumer packaging for our products, representing a 3% increase caused by increased volumes in our Frozen and Prepared divisions. The main packaging materials consist of plastics and cardboard in the Fresh division, plastics in the Frozen division, and steel cans and glass in the Prepared division. Further efforts in using recyclable packaging alternatives have increased the share of recyclable consumer packaging
To further optimise the environmental footprint of our packaging, the Frozen division developed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool to assess the impact of various packaging options and enable customers to make informed choices. The tool will be rolled out in other divisions as well. Elsewhere, the Circopack research project is entering its final year, in which we are evaluating and implementing alternative packaging concepts for our fresh convenience range as part the Industrial User Group.
We are committed to use 100% recyclable consumer packaging by 2025. We also plan to use 30% of recycled content in non-food contact packaging by 2030. In terms of packaging volumes, we are developing a reduction target without lowering the shelf-life or our products.