Blanco Niño boss Philip Martin: Exclusive podcast

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Philip Martin speaks to Food Manufacture in this exclusive podcast interview
Philip Martin speaks to Food Manufacture in this exclusive podcast interview

Related tags Snacks Ambient

Philip Martin, founder and chief executive of Irish tortilla chip manufacturer Blanco Niño, talks to Food Manufacture about fully recyclable packaging, regenerative farming and sourcing raw materials in this exclusive podcast.

The brand recently announced plans to move to 100% recyclable packaging in August (2022) made from a plastic resin called polypropylene 5.

Outside of keeping the design aesthetic of the new packaging consistent with its previous offering, the biggest challenge was finding the right type of material that met its criteria for both safety and recyclability.

“We looked at various different ways of doing it and many different companies have taken different approaches, from biodegradable to compostable,”​ Martin explained. “We decided the best route – for ourselves at least – is to have 100% recyclable plastic, plastic that can be recycled and made them to new packaging.

‘Ideal world’

“Now in an ideal world it would be we had no plastic, but we couldn’t find any form of packaging that can provide that barrier and protective environment from the outside world for the product. I think is the best of all options.”

It was a costly decision to move towards 100% recyclable packaging, but one the Martin said he gladly took on the chin. Ultimately, sustainability is the number one concern for Martin and his business.

Top of the agenda is moving to no-till farming, a regenerative farming system that reduces the damage till farming can do to the ecosystem, for the corn Blanco Niño uses in its corn chips.

“Rather than turning the soil, you're actually injecting the seed into the ground every year, rather than rather than having, say, the tractor till the soil,” said Martin. “It's much more energy efficient, as well.

No-till farming

“We're moving to the no till farming practices for corn. It's going to probably take a few years to do and in a complete and comprehensive way. But it's something that we especially I feel quite passionately about. It's one of those things that really can turn the needle if more people do it, they've moved to no till farming rather than conventional tillage.”

Martin went on to discuss the impact of Brexit on the industry and his business and the inevitable rise on commodity prices in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The rise in the price of sunflower oil has been the most significant impact.

“Although we've seen some sizable cost increases, we've also seen some pretty big efficiency improvements in our business,”​ he continued. “But there's no there's certainly no shortage of challenges out there. And what we still have sunflower oil, and we still have sunflower oil, and there is still some getting out of Ukraine.

“But what it really is just a case of the price just went nuts. All the sunflower oil everyone actually wants was in the market. The stocks that were in France and across Europe are still quite significant. It was just the there was a scare, there was a mania of sorts.”

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