Sustainable agriculture is a fundamental part of our heritage and our future
As a leading producer of frozen vegetables we care about the availability of good quality, nutritious vegetables. Growing vegetables responsibly is essential to both our business and the health of the planet. Poor farming practices can lead to a declining biodiversity, harmful pesticide residues, and water shortages. When it comes to the quality of available products, this puts us in grave danger.
The importance of good farming practices
More than two thirds of the vegetables we use, such as our popular Birds Eye peas, come from contracted farms and are grown according to our sustainable agriculture standards. Over the years, we have developed farming practices to make sure the land is worked and that the crop is grown in a sustainable way so that our resources are secured for the future.
Our experienced field-staff monitor the crops to ensure they are consistently produced according to our key principles for responsible and sustainable agriculture. It also means that they control crop management and crop protection decisions, ensuring crops are harvested at peak quality and are quickly frozen in order to maintain the quality and nutrition of the produce until it reaches the consumer.
Developing long-term relationships with growers is a fundamental part of our approach. We have worked with three to four generations of farmers for most of the peas and spinach we source.
These are examples of responsible and sustainable agriculture:
- We maximise harvests and nutritional quality, and at the same time we work to keep resource inputs and waste as low as possible
- We have put farm action plans in place to responsibly manage soil fertility, water, and biodiversity
- We support local communities to maintain and improve their wellbeing and working environment
- All our Birds Eye peas are already LEAF certified and 2017 was the third year that all 212 Birds Eye pea growers completed the LEAF sustainable farming review. This self-assessment management tool is then used to evaluate performance, set new benchmarks, and find support for the grower.
We have a clear policy for pesticide usage. We aim to use the least environmentally harmful approach considering effectiveness, financial justifications, quality, as well as environmental and health impacts.
Our unique pea breeding programme is another important part of our approach and is developed to secure taste, texture, and nutrients, as well as securing varieties that can grow in warmer climates.
Setting a best in class standard
Sustainable agriculture is a fundamental part of our heritage and future. To guarantee best-in-class agricultural standards we are members of SAI – Sustainable Agriculture Initiative, the leading global initiative devoted to the development of sustainable agriculture for food production. We are working to harmonise our approach to sustainable agriculture and will roll out the SAI platform, “Farm Sustainable Assessment” (FSA), covering all our vegetables.
SAI defines sustainable agriculture as “the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species”. It includes areas such as Biodiversity and Environmental concerns, Nutrients and Soil, Water and Waste management.