Q&A Sustainability: Front of Mind for Food and Beverage Customers

November 2021

Today’s food and beverage consumers are focused on more than just taste. For many, sustainability is at the heart of their purchasing decisions. We asked Chaucer Foods’ Kathy De La Bastide (Manager, Research & Development) and Matt Hill (Group Head of Technical & Quality) for their thoughts on current and future sustainability capabilities across the sector and what Chaucer is doing to address this growing consumer demand.

Why are plant-based diets becoming a staple for people who are concerned about sustainability?

Hill: Plant-based diets are more sustainable than diets rich in animal products. They use many fewer natural resources and are less taxing on the environment. Having said that, plant-based meats might be less sustainable than they appear as not all plant-based foodstuffs have a small environmental footprint.

What are the most influential plant-based diet trends you’re seeing and how are they influencing the types of foods / beverages the industry is producing?

De La Bastide: Beverages, and specifically coffee trends. In the U.K. companies are coming out with all types of non-dairy options. Oat, almond, and coconut milks are available in even the smallest U.K. coffee shops. It’s a sign of a very obvious intent to meet a growing desire for non-dairy.

Do you believe the plant-based diet trend will only continue to grow? Why?

De La Bastide: Absolutely. When you look at the interests of younger generations now entering adulthood and how social media influences and drives environmental and sustainability conversation, I think it’s only going to grow. The idea that we can and should save our planet isn’t a thought that will go away. Combine that with other health and wellness trends and the increasing cost of food and we’re seeing only the beginning of a move toward more plant-based diets.

What does sustainability mean to Chaucer?

Hill: Chaucer Foods strives to produce top quality freeze-dried and baked ingredients using sustainable methods. As a global business sourcing raw materials from many developing countries, we have a responsibility for thousands of people and the environment in which they live.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability agenda are a vital part of our overall business strategy. Our key objectives are:

  • – To reduce any potential negative impact of agricultural production & food manufacturing on the environment globally
  • – To ensure safe working conditions for all employees and workers in supply chains
  • – Fair treatment for workers in compliance with internationally accepted labor standards
  • – To ensure sustainability is embedded within all our processes
  • – To increase awareness of our sustainability strategy as the core of “how we do business” and “the way we work” across our supply base the business
  • – To collaborate with all our stakeholder groups – customers, our suppliers, our people, our local communities – to promote our initiatives in responsible and sustainable business practices

At the center of that strategy is the understanding that we have a responsibility to not just provide a product that improves the health and wellness of people, but to leave the world better than we found it through strong environmental stewardship and abiding by all existing best practices regarding sustainability.

How do you ensure traceability with your producers and along the supply chain? Are they required to follow particular standards?

Hill: All of Chaucer’s growers follow Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Global Gap certification standards, which go hand in hand with the existing strict supplier approval process that Chaucer follows to ensure all food safety requirements are met. Our products are fully traceable from Field to Fork and, using our Muddyboots supplier portal, we can ensure our ability to return to farm level with our suppliers.

Ready to learn more about Chaucer Foods and opportunities to develop sustainability best practices in your business? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

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