Weetabix targets sustainable breakfast cereal production

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Weetabix Food Company brands include Weetabix, Weetabix Minis and Alpen
Weetabix Food Company brands include Weetabix, Weetabix Minis and Alpen

Related tags Ambient Supply chain Packaging & labelling

Breakfast cereal manufacturer Weetabix has launched a sustainability review, targeting areas such as sustainable ingredients sourcing, packaging waste reduction and efficient operations.

The business said its Sustainability Steering Group last year drove a refresh of the company’s approach to sustainability and its new ‘Change for Better’ framework would focus on four key areas. These would be: sustainable ingredients; packaging waste reduction; efficient operations; health and wellbeing.

The report details the variety of steps Weetabix is taking to address these areas, highlighting that it:

  • is one of only 280 companies in the world to receive Standard Corporate Certification for its supply chain from The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply;
  • has reduced its plastic packaging by 12% since 2007 and plans a further 18% reduction by 2025;
  • aims to introduce 30% recycled plastic (rPET) into its Weetabix On the Go breakfast drinks bottles;
  • sends zero waste to landfill from its manufacturing and distribution sites since 2016 and is working towards reducing total annual food surplus by 20% by the end of 2025.

In December last year, the company vowed to step up its environmental efforts after it was hit with a £140,000 fine following prosecution by the Environment Agency for polluting a river in Northamptonshire​.

'Consumers are concerned'

“We have always aimed to do the right thing even when no one’s looking,"​ said John Petre, supply chain and technical director, who was promoted to that role in February​ and who leads the Weetabix Sustainability Steering Group, said. "Now more than ever, consumers are concerned about whether a company like Weetabix is behaving responsibly before they commit to buying our products or rewarding us with their loyalty. They want to understand how we are acting in ways that are good for them, better for the environment and valuable for society.

"This review marks the next step in our journey, outlining the work we have done and how we will continue to deliver change for the better across four areas of environmental and corporate social responsibility - reaffirming our commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability.” 

Weetabix plans to publish a more expansive and detailed report later this year that will include more performance data and further targets for improvement. It is also expecting to announce more ambitious plans to further reduce the environmental impact of its packaging.

Weetabix Food Company brands include Weetabix, Weetabix Minis, Alpen, Weetabix On The Go Breakfast Drink, Ready Brek, Weetos and Alpen bars. Production takes place at Burton Latimer, Corby and Ashton. The firm, which has its global headquarters in Northamptonshire, operates across South Africa, Kenya, Germany and Spain and exports to more than 90 countries around the world.

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