05 Jan 2018 | 10.51 am
‘It’s a transparent way of showing commitment to the environment’
Interview with Bord Bia Origin Green participant Jason Coyle, MD of Mr. Crumb
05 Jan 2018 | 10.51 am
Created by Bord Bia, Ireland’s Origin Green Programme is the world’s first national food sustainability programme. It brings together the entire food and drink industry – from farmers to food producers, retailers and food service operators – with a common goal: sustainable food production.
This month, we feature Jason Coyle (pictured), Managing Director of Mr. Crumb.
What is the background to your business?
Mr. Crumb started back in 1996 when we spotted a gap in the market for fresh breadcrumb and stuffing. We’ve since become an export-led company and have just achieved our first US retail listings.
Why did Mr. Crumb join Origin Green?
We are strong advocates for rural regeneration, environmental protection and real food. Origin Green was a natural extension of this.
What are the key points of your sustainability plan?
- Reducing packaging waste: We are currently working on incorporating plastic-free, fully recyclable and compostable packaging.
- Biodiversity: Mr. Crumb is located close to three lakes, while the bog land immediately north of the site is designated as a raised bog. Other immediate environs have been classified as a Specially Protected Area and Special Area of Conservation. Mr. Crumb has planted 22,000 Sitka spruce trees in the surrounding area and continues to work with an ecologist to identify opportunities to enhance local flora and fauna.
- Health and nutrition: Our new product development programme is focused on further developing our existing gluten-free and organic product ranges, and we are launching highly nutritional vegetarian and vegan meals. We make our food like you would in your own home: fresh, in small batches and using good quality ingredients.
What progress have you made on these plans?
We are now in the third year of our plan and are at advanced stages in all projects, with most coming to completion in 2018.
How does Origin Green benefit business, the environment and society?
It’s a transparent way of showing our commitment to the environment and to our community, and it provides a way to motivate our team.
How do you see sustainability evolving for business?
There has been a constant push within the food industry for lower prices year on year, since food was industrialised in the 1960s. This has had a negative impact on a lot of areas:
- The decrease in natural nutrition from food, as products become more processed, more artificial and more sterile.
- The subsequent rise in obesity and other health-related issues.
- The rise of super companies consolidating food production. These companies are very cost-focused and highly industrialised.
- The increasing food safety scandals in the food industry.
- The reduction of the living standards of workers and farmers, and the consequent need for cheaper food that they can afford on their low pay.
All of this needs to change. As a company, Mr. Crumb would like to get back to working with smaller, more artisan suppliers and local farmers. This is not easy, due to the cost requirements and standards required in the industry, but we are working on ways to incorporate more of these.
We want to progress as a business. That means working within our community, minimising our impact on the environment, producing food that is clean, healthy and nutritious, and that we are proud of, as well as making a positive contribution to the lives of our colleagues and consumers.
+ For more details on the Origin Green programme, visit origingreen.ie