Published 2 months ago.
About a 4 minute read.
As part of Nestlé’s bid to source 50% of its key ingredients from regenerative-ag methods by 2030, the three are turning the waste steam into a win-win, circular solution for food companies and farmers alike.
This week, Nestlé UK & Ireland and
Cargill launched their latest
regenerative-agriculture initiative — to assess whether cocoa shells from a
confectionery site in York could be used to create a low-carbon fertilizer.
The two-year trial across the companies’ UK supply chains will evaluate the
new fertilizer’s performance on crop production, soil health and greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions reduction. If successful, up to 7,000 tonnes of low-carbon
fertilizer could be produced and offered to farmers in Nestlé’s UK wheat supply
chain — which would equate to roughly 25 percent of Nestlé UK’s total fertilizer
use for wheat.
The production and use of conventional fertilizer accounts for approximately 5
percent of global GHG
emissions; and more than
half of the carbon footprint of wheat grown in the UK is related to fertilizer
More and more companies are seizing the opportunity to upcycle agricultural
waste streams into value-added products — into everything from building materials and bioplastic
and clean energy
— creating lower-emissions supply chains and often creating cost savings or even
new revenue streams for farmers. Scaling up low-carbon fertilizer production in
the UK can provide farmers with a more sustainable product at a reliable price.
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“Farmers often find themselves to be among the first groups to be exposed to
global issues, and these risks are then borne by the food system we all depend
upon. We have to find ways to build more resilience into the system and
optimising our use of natural resources is a critical part of this,” said Matt
Ryan, Regeneration Lead
at Nestle UK & Ireland. “This project is a small, but very meaningful step
towards a net-zero future — where farmers, local enterprises and nature all
stand to benefit.”
The cocoa shells are supplied by Cargill, which processes the cocoa at the York
facility to become key ingredients in products for Nestlé’s KitKat and
Aero brands. A trial volume of cocoa shell has been processed and pelletized
by Swindon-based carbon-capture and -utilization company CCm
“Moving to a more sustainable world involves creating partnerships that think
about waste differently,” said CCm CEO Pawel
“CCm’s technology enables many of the biggest players across agriculture and the
food sector to give waste generated from routine food manufacturing a second
lease of life as valuable low-emission sustainable fertilizer. This benefits
farmer, customer and planet.”
The trials, which were designed and are being overseen by York-based Fera
Science Ltd, are currently taking place on arable
farms in Suffolk and Northamptonshire. They are designed to investigate
the performance of the fertilizer in terms of wheat yield and quality. They will
also assess the impacts on soil biodiversity and GHG emissions in comparison to
conventional products applied on the same farms.
Richard Ling, Farm Manager at Rookery Farm, Wortham in Norfolk — who
supplies wheat to Nestlé’s Purina brand — said: “We have now finished
harvesting and we’ve successfully grown a winter wheat crop using this new
fertilizer. We’ve compared two parts of the field — one which used the cocoa
shell fertilizer, and one which used with the conventional fertilizer — and
there is no significant difference in the yield; so we can see that it works! We
are really reassured with the results and are looking at running further trials.
“It’s a step change to be able to use a fertilizer made from a waste stream and
see the same results as using a conventional product,” Ling added. "It’s an
exciting and promising time, and we are pleased to be taking part in these
trials to help reduce the carbon emissions from our farming.”
Nestlé’s focus on regenerative agriculture is underpinned by its work with the
Landscape Enterprise Networks
(LENs) — an independent trading community that connects businesses with a
common interest to protect and restore the environment in which they operate.
The UK cocoa fertilizer pilot is an example of the solutions that Nestlé is
investigating to help achieve net-zero emissions by
and its commitment to sourcing 50 percent of its key ingredients from
regenerative agricultural methods by 2030. In its US wheat supply chain, for
example, Nestlé recently launched an
to help farmers adopt regenerative practices on over 100,000 acres of farmland —
nearly double the number of acres needed to grow the amount of wheat used in its
DIGIORNO brand pizza crusts.
Published Sep 13, 2023 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST