Unilever rolls out its first UK regenerative farming programme

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever will be working with the farms that grow the mustard seeds and mint leaves used in Colman’s products
Unilever will be working with the farms that grow the mustard seeds and mint leaves used in Colman’s products

Related tags Agriculture Sustainability Technology & Automation

The British multinational fast-moving consumer goods company is working with UK farms that grow mustard seeds and mint leaves used for its Coleman’s products.

The project will initially trial the application of regenerative agriculture practices across mustard and mint farms around Norwich and Peterborough over four years, with the first crop due to be sown next month (March).

This is the latest regenerative agriculture project from Unilever, which builds on its global roadmap to invest in such practices on 1.5m hectares of land and forests by 2030.

This latest project is a collaboration between two farming cooperatives, the English Mustard Growers and Norfolk Mint Growers, with a group of technical and academic partners, Farmacy and National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB.

A series of new practices will be implemented on the trial farms, including the use of low carbon fertiliser, crop nutrition strategies, planting of cover and companion crops to reduce pesticides use, new digital water irrigation scheduling systems and reduced cultivation.

“To increase our resilience and continue to produce high quality products, we need to work with our climate, which means adapting our practices,”​ explained mint farmer, David Bond. “This new project with Unilever will enable us to implement regenerative agriculture practices on a wider scale, together with more measurement and analysis from our partnership with NIAB, so we can continue to learn and improve for the future.”

Unilever will be working to identify baseline data and create a framework that measures the impact of these new practices. This also includes funding the development of new tech to improve data collection on farms, such as a device that can measure carbon levels in soil in situ.  

“Healthy soil should matter to all food businesses and as the climate crisis continues to impact the natural world, we need to not just protect but to help regenerate the soil and farmland used to grow the crops and ingredients we enjoy every day,”​ Andre Burger, head of nutrition for Unilever UK & Ireland, commented.

Related topics Fresh produce Environment

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