FDI calls for investment in sustainable food manufacturing

Pictured: (L-R) Paul Kelly of Food Drink Ireland; Minister Ossian Smyth and Nicholas Reynolds of O’Brien Fine Foods (Photo by Mark Maxwell)

The report shows the sector's innovative approaches to tackle resource utilisation, sustainable packaging, food waste and more



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4 June 2024

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Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group representing the food and beverage sectors, has published a new report ‘Prepared Consumer Foods Sustainability Report: Driving better practices across the supply chain’. 

Through ten industry case studies, the report demonstrates the high level of commitment, investment and innovation from the food sector in reducing its environmental impact while continuing to produce consumers’ favourite food and drink products.

Highlights of the report

  • Carbon neutrality: Projects such as Farm Zero C from Carbery Group, demonstrate innovative approaches to climate-neutral farming and initiatives aimed at reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
  • Health and nutrition: Case studies from Nomadic and Britvic showcase successful reformulation efforts aimed at reducing calories, salt, fats and sugar content, and advancements in protein enhancement.
  • Data and certification: Dawn Farms’ data-driven approach to emissions reduction exemplifies the sector’s commitment to sustainable practices through science-based targets. O’Brien Fine Foods has embedded a company-wide structure to support its sustainability journey, certified by B Corp.
  • Energy efficiency: Flahavan’s investments in biomass, solar, wind, and hydro energy sources illustrate the sector’s embrace of renewable energy solutions.
  • Waste management: Silver Hill Duck’s case study demonstrates how the business took a circular economy approach to waste minimisation, and highlights innovative strategies to valorise co-products and reduce process waste.
  • Packaging innovation: Kepak and Hilton Foods Ireland are leading examples of companies aligning with sustainability directives and pioneering packaging solutions to minimise environmental impact while maintaining product safety and quality.
  • Responsible sourcing: Companies are prioritising collaboration with supply chain partners such as Forest Stewardship Council to drive sustainable raw material sourcing and removing deforestation from supply chains, as demonstrated by Silver Hill Duck.
  • Community engagement: Tirlán’s case study demonstrates how the business transformed their retail stores, supporting solar PV installations exemplifying the sector’s commitment to community well-being.

Additional supports

FDI is calling on government to introduce a range of additional supports to accelerate the transition to more sustainable practices across food manufacturing businesses:

  • Provide financing supports to incentivise investments in carbon abatement measures, more sustainable packaging solutions and green transport initiatives
  • Provide more support for continued development of recycling infrastructure and work with the waste sector to encourage investment in technologies to develop the circular economy
  • Provide support and incentives to scale up the bioeconomy, particularly for the agrifood sector and to encourage more innovation and joined up thinking
  • Continue public sector investment in industry-led applied and fundamental research, in particular through the National Prepared Consumer Foods Centre
  • Regularly review investment supports such as EIIS and R&D tax credit, ensuring a taxation environment which encourages investment in innovation
  • Ensure appropriate focus is maintained on food safety within the context of sustainability developments and innovations.

Paul Kelly, director, FDI,  said: “The food and drink sector is committed to contributing to the creation of a circular economy and working collaboratively along the supply chain with suppliers, retailers and consumers to support sustainable consumption patterns. Food and drink companies will continue to push for improved circularity and environmental performance of their products wherever possible, while ensuring the highest level of quality and safety.” 

To download the report, visit here.

Read more: FDI: Greater ambition in funding supports for food and drink manufacturing needed



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