How is growing and eating sustainably tied to addressing the climate crisis?
“The food and beverage industry uses up a lot of planetary resources and is responsible for over 25% of greenhouse gases. At the same time, there are two billion people who are either overweight or obese. We need all stakeholders to be committed to overcoming hunger and malnutrition.
“We also need healthier and more sustainable food. Today, 30% of food is wasted. If, as a society, we can reverse the trend of food waste, there would be more than enough food to feed the world. Consumers are waking up to these facts – in fact, 44% are willing to pay extra for food and beverage products that help solve food waste.”
What for you is sustainable nutrition?
“At Kerry, we have a vision for a new food future. That vision is to be our customers’ most valued partner, creating a world of sustainable nutrition. Sustainable nutrition refers to our ability to provide positive and balanced nutrition solutions that help maintain good health, while protecting people and the planet. A key component of achieving this goal is ensuring that our innovation strategies are focused on meeting the industry’s biggest challenges.”
Could you demonstrate how sustainability is at the heart of your business?
“We have a solution called Tastesense™ Sweet, which allows us to create beverages that have the same sweetness as regular products but have up to 30% less sugar. Flavours are based on botanical extracts, which are screened and selected for their functional properties.
“We also conducted a Life Cycle Assessment to determine the full environmental impact of the product. This has shown a 20% carbon emissions reduction, a 30% water use reduction, and a 30% calorie reduction versus sugar. To put this in perspective, if Tastesense™ was used on all cola products in Europe, it would remove the equivalent of 68 billion cubes of sugar, the same carbon emissions as nearly 30,000 cars driven for one year and the equivalent water that is used by 11 billion people showering for a year.
“Kerry has also used its brewing ingredients and applications expertise to create a range of products with low alcohol and lower calories. We recently launched a tool to help brewers find out the sustainability benefits of these products in terms of tons of CO2 saved, energy reduction, and the equivalent cars taken off the road or trees planted.”
What can you tell me about your 2030 Commitments?
“As part of Kerry’s vision for the next decade, we see the possibility for a world of sustainable nutrition, one that contributes to good health while protecting people and the planet. We have set out a number of ambitious goals to achieve this and align with the Paris Agreement of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“For example, we increased our initial targets for Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions reduction from 33% to 55% by 2030. This ambitious goal strengthens Kerry’s Beyond the Horizon sustainability strategy and commitments, including a target to halve its food waste and reach over two billion people with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030.
“We also revised social sustainability targets. This will require the introduction and acceleration of several initiatives across the company, including moving to 100% renewable electricity within 12 months, implementing energy efficiency programmes and responsibly sourcing 100% of priority raw materials by 2030. By 2030, emission intensity will be reduced by 30% across the supply chain. These goals demonstrate our commitment to transparency in the food industry.”
How important is it to adapt sustainable practices to local contexts?
“Our philosophy has always been to source, develop, manufacture and sell in the same country or region. This is of course not always possible, but this is what we are aiming for. This enables us to build the capability to hire local people, leverage local supply chains, build local partnerships and develop local suppliers – this in turn can help manage local food costs and food security.”
What are your key priorities when it comes to addressing global challenges?
“The impacts of climate change, the accelerating loss of biodiversity and widening social and economic inequality are just some of the factors that need to be urgently addressed to ensure the well-being of current and future generations. As the leading global expert in taste and nutrition, Kerry creates a crucial link between manufacturer capabilities and consumer expectations and is firmly at the forefront of technological innovation within food and beverages - a critical foundation for building a more sustainable future.
“Our material topics are defined through a dedicated process of stakeholder engagement which considers a broad universe of issues. We assess the relative importance of each issue in influencing the decision making of these stakeholders, their importance to Kerry’s business performance and our wider social, environmental and economic impacts.”
What innovations do you think encapsulate your approach to sustainability?
“Bakery products are the biggest contributor to food waste globally by volume and meat products are the biggest contributor to food waste by value. And yet almost 890m people are going hungry. As many here are aware, if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest contributor to greenhouse gasses.
“So, when we think about the future for Kerry and the next 50 years, it’s about focusing on the areas where we believe we can have a real impact – we are evolving the organization towards becoming an impact company. Ensuring that food is produced to a maximum shelf life will feed more people, and significantly reduce environmental impact. By extending the shelf life of a basic product, we are extending the opportunity for that product to be consumed.
“Innovative preservation methods are the key to delivering this. We have the broadest portfolio of preservation solutions, from clean label to conventional preservatives, to ensure all food produced is to a maximum shelf life. Meanwhile, by leveraging technologies such as enzymes, we can transform waste streams and convert into value added products.”
What key lessons do you hope attendees take away from Fi Europe?
“The world is struggling with both obesity and malnutrition. Food is going to waste while many go to bed hungry. No one part of the industry or society can solve anything or have any meaningful impact on their own. The need to focus on impact and the benefit of collaboration is vital.
“We look forward to meeting our customers and peers at Fi Europe to discuss these challenges and how we can work together to address them.”
|Juan Aguiriano, head of sustainability at Kerry