Consumers around the world are demanding one thing more and more from food manufacturers: sustainably and ethically produced food. People expect companies to provide more than just a delicious product.

“In the past year, certain currents that we had observed for some time finally became set in stone,” said Rafael Juan, chief executive officer, Vicky Foods, Valencia, Spain. “The pandemic has caused companies to wonder how to respond and add value to society in the face of a crisis. Those that act based on purpose and values, with transparency, exercising responsible, active and committed leadership will emerge stronger.”

Sustainability programs, transparency across supply chain and using buying power to improve agriculture practices have increasingly shown up in corporate mission statements across the baking and snack industry. Grupo Bimbo, for example, is well-known for its commitment to be a “sustainable, highly productive and deeply humane company.”

The Mexico City-based company sets lofty sustainability goals—100% renewable electric power, 100% recyclable, biodegradable or compostable packaging by 2025 — and creates programs to support employees. In its 2020 Q4 investor presentation, Grupo Bimbo reported that 100% of its facilities in the United States and 85% of facilities in Mexico are powered by renewable energy while it has also reduced packaging by more than 3.3 million kgs in the past 10 years. The company aims to reach its goals by focusing on reducing its carbon and water footprint, managing food waste and promoting sustainable agriculture.

Europastry, Barcelona, Spain, also can boast 100% renewable energy sources at its production facilities, and the company has created the Responsible Wheat label to identify best practices in wheat farming. This means supporting local farmers, using certified seeds, reducing fertilizers, implementing crop rotation practices and traceability from farm to table. The company has currently dedicated 5,300 hectares to Responsible Wheat and aims to increase that number to 20,000 by 2025.

“Our quest for sustainability is a given,” said Carolina Moré, marketing director, Europastry. “We are increasingly committed to drastically reducing not just the carbon footprint of our activity but also that of the entire value chain.”

This article is an excerpt from the May 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Centennial Report: Global Bakeries, click here.