Food Safety

The world’s food retailers are changing – and for the better

With Sainsbury’s pulling their net-zero target forward by 5 years, Cadbury chocolate brands in India supporting sustainable cocoa farming communities and the Spanish chorizo sector making sustainability investments – it’s clear that food suppliers are making huge headway in sustainability.

Below we highlight how things are starting to change for the better and urge other businesses to take notice and get involved before it is too late.

Sainsburys is modelling leadership in the UK food retail sector when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint – by 47 percent in the last 17 years (despite their space increasing by over 40 percent).

It appears that Mondelez India has made recent sustainable farming headway, by announcing that the country’s Cadbury chocolate brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, Cadbury Bournville, Cadbury Dark Milk and Cadbury Temptations will now carry the Cocoa Life logo on the front of their packs.

The Cocoa Life programme in India has been active since 1965 and has reached out to a community of more than 100,000 farmers, helping them understand and subsequently adopt the art of cocoa farming. The company today sources a large part of its cocoa requirements indigenously and claims to be the largest corporate organization to nurture and promote cocoa cultivation in India.

The Spanish chorizo industry has laid out plans to focus on sustainability issues and the digitalisation of the chain to promote future growth in the sector, with the aim to modernise production processes and more importantly, asking large manufacturers to commit to sustainability initiatives. 

The British market continues to be the main destination for premium chorizo from the Consorcio del Chorizo Español with 1.1 million kg of Consortium-labelled Chorizo being exported to the UK in the first half of 2021.

However private equity businesses typically invest toward shorter term horizons. These may last only five years. In practice, they acquire the retailer’s assets and are looking to exit or sell their investment after those five years.

Here at QADEX we’ve seen many clients acquired by private equity businesses that’ve been very proactive at investing in technology to drive digital transformation and efficiency. These investments typically transpire early in the investment cycle with an intention to deliver improvements in the years prior to the sale. 

Each small change is a step in the right direction

It’s encouraging to see how many food retailers are making changes to become more sustainable, with their efforts timing with the UN Climate Change Conference 2021

Incorporating sustainable food supply chain goals is a no brainer, as according to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand. Up to 73% of the surveyed millennials had a similar view and according to Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study, 81% of millennials expect companies to declare their corporate citizenship publicly.

Do you think that these blue chip names will encourage other food retailers to show the same level of commitment?