► SustainabilityOur Progress to Date

Our Progress to Date

Sustainability has long been at the heart of how we operate as a business, and our new Enriching Life Plan builds upon some great progress in the last few years. Find out more in some selected case studies or head to our last annual report for more details.

From the products we make:

  • Removed more than 1,000 tonnes of sugar and 1,000 tonnes of salt from the nation’s diet.
  • Innovated to bring 30+ ‘Better-for-You’ options to market that offer consumers healthier choices, while 44% of our sales come from food that meet high nutritional standards and 84% of our core ranges include a heathier option.
  • Become founding signatories of the UK Plastics Pact aimed at eliminating plastic waste.
  • Launched our plant-based snacking range, Plantastic,  as well as several other plant-based options under our core brands.


Transparent Nutrition Labelling

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We continue to champion transparent nutrition labelling so that consumers can make informed choices about the products they buy. As one of the first food manufacturers to adopt the voluntary front-of-pack traffic light labelling, we went on to support the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) in developing best practice guidance to encourage consistency across industry and better consumer understanding of the nutrition information provided in these labels. 95% of our UK portfolio carries all five key pieces of nutrition data – energy, fat, saturates, sugars, salt – on the front of pack (the remaining 5% only carry the energy information due to the small size of the packaging). This labelling helps our consumers to make informed choices.

We continue to work with other stakeholders on collaborative action to drive healthier diets and partner with our customers to promote and highlight our healthier alternatives to nudge our consumers towards those options and encourage behaviour change. This year, we have joined the Consumer Goods Forum’s Collaboration for Healthier Lives UK and look forward to playing a meaningful role within this forum which brings together manufacturers and retailers alongside key local stakeholders (including public health authorities, academics, local actors and government figures) to drive change and positively impact consumer health. Collectively, the forum aims to develop a series of structural and behavioural interventions – both in-store and through digital channels – to help our consumers and employees understand, find and choose healthier options.

A healthier version of your favourite takeaway

Our healthier Sharwood’s Indian range

Last year, 54% of UK consumers surveyed for our Kitchen Cooking Index have tried their hand at a ‘fakeaway’, recreating the eating out dining experience from their own kitchens.

With our Sharwood’s curry sauces, our consumers can enjoy the taste of Indian flavours with a healthier recipe than those from restaurants. Indeed, our research has found that a home-made curry using our reduced fat Sharwood’s curry sauce has a significantly better nutritional profile than an equivalent takeaway curry.

The saturated fat content in a takeaway option is on average three times higher than our Sharwood’s better-for-you 30% reduced fat Korma sauce, and it contains on average 60% more calories.

This year, we have added the 30% reduced fat butter chicken cooking sauce to our portfolio of better-for-you Sharwood’s sauces – helping our consumers in search of flavour, variety and healthier options!

Pure Plant Power...

Introducing Plantastic

Tapping into the increasing numbers of health-conscious consumers moving towards a flexitarian diet, we’ve developed a fresh new brand, Plantastic, designed to offer a range of delicious, convenient, plant-based foods across multiple categories. The brand was launched in Autumn 2019 with our range of flapjacks and cakes in four modern flavour combinations - Lemon and Tumeric, Apricot and Ginger, Orange and Parsnip and Cherry and Chocolate. They all contain a source of fibre and provide a nutritious on-the-go snack.

Following on from their success in market, the brand has expanded into the chiller aisle in 2020 with the launch of our Strawberry Mixed Grain Snack Pots; healthy mixed grains in a coconut cream with a Strawberry fruit layer, for a snack that provides a source of protein and is low in fat.

Consumers can also pick up a delicious Plantastic snack front-of-store, providing the ultimate healthy on-the-go snack option!

Salt Reduction

Taking salt out of our portfolio

Our approach to salt reduction is two-fold. One approach is to remove salt from our products, without compromising on their taste and quality, and the other is to develop better-for-you ‘low salt’ versions of existing products, by way of providing consumer choice.

We have actively engaged with the Government’s salt reduction programme since its launch in 2006, removing 1,000 tonnes of salt from our portfolio since that time, and achieving full compliance with their salt targets for Breads, Ready Meals, Soup, Noodles & Pasta, Flavoured Rice, Sponge Puddings, Stocks and Gravies. Specific examples of this work include a 12% salt reduction in our bestselling Loyd Grossman Basil and Tomato cooking sauce, a 9% salt reduction in our popular Oxo Vegetable Stock Cubes, and between a 13-26% salt reduction across three of our Bisto Best Gravy Granules products.

We’ve also introduced low salt versions of some of our most popular ranges, including Bisto Gravy Granules, Oxo Stock Cubes, and most recently a low salt version of our SAXA salt brand, aptly named So-Low, and containing 50% less sodium than table salt.


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Our products are packaged in a way that balances the need to ensure food safety, preserve freshness and taste, prevent food waste, provide convenience, and share important information with consumers. We continue to work hard to optimise our packaging and to reduce its environmental impact; using materials from certified sustainable sources wherever possible, increasing our use of recycled materials, and increasing the recyclability of our packaging. The chart below illustrates the split in our use of packaging materials by volume weight and their respective recyclability rates. All the corrugated paper or carton board we use within our packaging is from Forestry Stewardship Council (‘FSC’) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified sources and is fully recyclable. In total, 94% of our packaging, by weight, is recyclable (both widely recycled and check locally) using OPRL guidelines.


Removing black plastic

... across Mr Kipling & Cadbury

As a founder member of the UK Plastics Pact, we’re taking important action to achieve 100% recyclability of the plastics we use across our product packaging. Today, plastics make up just 12% of our packaging by weight, with 70% of that plastic recyclable and containing on average 11% of recycled material.

Black plastic has been identified as particularly problematic because, whilst technically recyclable, UK recycling centres do not currently have the optical sorting equipment needed to identify and recycle it. As a result, black plastic will often get sent to landfill or incineration.

To address this challenge, at the start of 2019 we took action to remove black plastic from our portfolio - first from our Mr Kipling Cakes, Pies, and Puddings and secondly from our Cadbury Cakes – switching instead to using a clear, recyclable plastic tray or pot. These contain a minimum of 50% recycled content, an important attribute given our ambition to support a circular plastics economy.

This project has resulted in the removal of 500 tonnes non-recyclable black plastic from the UK market annually.

To how we support our colleagues and communities:

  • Taken on more than 200 Apprentices and 100 graduates.
  • Trained more than 96 Mental Health First Aiders.
  • Expanded our #oktobeme Diversity & Inclusion programme and trained over 750 leaders and managers.
  •  Achieved Gold level GroceryAid supporter level for fourth year running.


Apprenticeship Programme

Hear from our Apprentices

Apprenticeships can prove one of the most practical ways for people to learn, enabling them to develop and hone new knowledge and skills whilst remaining in paid employment. We offer apprenticeships to both existing colleagues and new recruits, with programmes ranging from Technical Operators, Food Technologists, Software Development, Continuous Improvement and beyond. Our programmes cover all levels of prior experience, meaning they are a truly inclusive route to career progression. Since 2017, our apprenticeship schemes have supported the training and development of more than 100 colleagues.

Hear from our past and current Apprentices...

“I have worked for Premier Foods for 20 years and it is great to have the opportunity to still take part in the scheme. It means I can learn a new role while working and at the end, I will have a nationally recognised qualification. Also within food manufacturing, equipment is becoming increasingly complex so it's been great to have the chance to learn and adapt.”
(Tabrez Javaid – Machine Technical Operator Apprentice, Stoke manufacturing site)

“When I saw Premier Foods was recruiting for apprentices, I thought it was a great way for me to get a qualification while working for a well-known food manufacturer. The scheme was really good, with training and advice always available. If I needed help on shift, my colleagues were there to support me and I had a mentor for any queries around my coursework. As a result, I have gained many skills.”
(Antonia Oakley, Technical Operator Apprentice, Worksop manufacturing site)

“As part of my apprenticeship I complete basic Continuous Improvement (CI) duties on six different lines within the factory. I’m always being exposed to new elements of the business and trying out new tasks every day which has led me to have a much wider knowledge of the business than I necessarily would somewhere else.”
(Gareth Thompson – Formerly completed a Continuous Improvement Apprenticeship. Now Improvement Coordinator, Carlton manufacturing site)

Graduate Programme

Hear from our Graduates

Our Graduate Programmes provide an excellent foundation for a career in the food and drink sector and enable us to harness and nurture emerging talent. We offer four distinct programmes - within our Commercial (Sales and Marketing), Finance, Procurement and IT teams - and since 2014 have welcomed over 80 Graduates on to the programme and supported their early career development. From the moment they join us, all our Graduates embark on a two-year Graduate Development Programme. This includes a series of external training modules designed to help them develop core business skills including commercial awareness, presenting, and managing change. During their Programme, our Graduates also typically undertake three placement roles that are appropriate to their Graduate scheme. This ensures they get relevant exposure to our business before they complete the programme and have the opportunity to apply for a permanent role.

Hear from our past and current Graduates...


“Since starting the Procurement Graduate programme in 2015, I have had the opportunity to work in several different areas of procurement. I liked the fact that I was given responsibility and treated as a real part of the team straight away. Being part of a cross-functional cohort of graduates meant that I got a lot of support and this helped me to build my network throughout the business. After progressing through the procurement scheme, I decided I wanted to build my experience in another function. Premier supported me in this move and after 4 years in procurement I was able to leverage the skills and connections I had built throughout the graduate scheme to move into a new role in Category Development.”

Naomi Spray
Category Executive within our Category Development & Shopper Marketing team. Completed 2015 Graduate Procurement programme

“The Commercial Graduate Programme gave me exposure to various areas of the business including field sales, brand marketing and e-commerce. This in turn gave me a strong commercial understanding and knowledge of our products and retail channels. Upon completing the programme I was appointed National Account Executive for Morrisons, and within 12 months I was promoted to National Account Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups category where I was responsible for managing and delivering the joint business plan with full P&L responsibility. To widen my experience I subsequently moved into Commercial Planning on Home Baking, more recently being promoted to Commercial Planning Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups category - a role I've been able to hit the ground running with on account of my sales experience of the category. The icing on the cake was to be nominated by the business for the Rising Star award at the 2019 Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Awards, which I went onto win.”

Jessica Kelly
Commercial Planning Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups Category. Completed 2015 Commercial Graduate programme

“I joined the Finance Graduate Scheme in September 2018 and from the first day you really do hit the ground running. My first rotation was within Commercial Finance, business partnering the internal Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon and Co-Op teams. The support that Premier gives you is incredible, with so much to learn and get involved in. My first rotation allowed me add value to discussions and negotiations by providing financial analysis and challenging the norms. My second rotation is a newly created rotation in Premier’s shared service centre (PBS) in Manchester. I pushed to make this a rotation due to the valuable knowledge I knew I would gain from invoicing, SG&A to product costing and how vital these components are to the success of the business as a whole. Premier Foods sponsors all Finance graduates to become chartered, giving you the choice between ACA, ACCA or CIMA. They fully fund everything from exams to college whilst also giving you a generous amount of study days off per exam. Additionally, one of the best things about the graduate scheme for me is the level of support you receive, as you are given a Buddy, a Mentor and a Line Manager. This allows you to learn from others to develop professionally."

Jasprit Singh
Joined 2018 Financial Graduate programme

Employee Health and Well-being

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We continue to make every effort to look after the health and well-being of our colleagues. Through our dedicated Occupational Health team, we provide professional, specialist advice to colleagues on the effects of work on their health. We advise our colleagues on ways to improve physical and psychological wellbeing within the workplace and provide them with strategies to prevent illness and injury. Building on the results of our 2019 Health Needs Assessment, and the areas our colleagues told us they would welcome support with, this year we’ve focused our Health and Well-being plans on health checks, healthy eating and weight management, and mental health. As signatories of the Time to Change Pledge since 2019, we’ve taken significant steps to improve how we support our colleagues’ mental health. This year, all colleagues have been given access to one of our 93 colleagues who are certified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs), and over two thirds of our Line Managers have completed Mental Health Awareness Training (350 out of 495). We had aimed for all Line Managers to have undergone this training, but Covid-19 restrictions at our factories meant delays have been inevitable. We are now working to complete the roll-out and will extend training to all colleagues by April 2022.

Providing extra support to our colleagues during Covid-19


Considering the pandemic and its impact on societal well-being, this year we took the decision to provide additional resources to help our colleagues look after their mental health. As well as benefitting from continued free access to our Employee Assistance Programme (Lifeworks), and from industry charity GroceryAid, we created dedicated pages on our intranet and employee benefits platform to signpost colleagues to mental health support tools. We also made GP appointments easier to access by enabling colleagues to book virtual check-ins via the Aviva GP and Well-being apps. During Mental Health Week, we organised several events, including a lunch session entitled ‘It’s ok not to be ok’, designed to encourage colleagues to ask for help and speak to their family, friends or colleagues if they felt overwhelmed. The week also included a virtual session with professional rugby players Danny Sculthorpe and Phil Vievers, encouraging everyone to lift the taboo on men’s mental health and seek help if needed, with around 300 colleagues attending this virtual event.

Diversity and Inclusion

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We are committed to creating an inclusive culture across our whole organisation, where everyone is welcome and able to thrive. We aim to ensure all existing and potential colleagues are provided with equal opportunity and are respected, valued and encouraged to bring their true authentic selves to work.

This year we’ve taken significant strides to fulfil our commitment to Inclusion and Diversity (I&D), focusing on four key areas: leadership, education, recruitment and talent management, and data:

Our ELT is a passionate sponsor of our I&D agenda, and this year we appointed a Director of Talent and Culture, as well as a Culture and Engagement Business Partner to provide increased focus and accelerate our progress. We have delivered a programme focused on Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership to over 550 leaders and managers, a first key step to creating the right environment for all colleagues. Next, we plan to roll the training out to all sitebased colleagues by 2023. We have also introduced a Reverse Mentoring Programme where senior managers are paired up with a more junior colleague of the opposite sex who fulfils the role of mentor. The programme encourages sponsorship and helps to address the gender imbalance within senior roles across the business.

We launched #oktobeme, a programme dedicated to encouraging colleagues to bring their true, authentic selves to work, supported by a network of I&D Ambassadors from across the business who will help to embed a culture of inclusivity. Colleagues celebrated International Men’s Day, International Women’s Week, Black History Month, Pride and TransDay of Visibility with inspiring guest speakers.

After identifying, through data analysis, that the attraction and recruitment stages are key to driving improvements in organisational diversity, we introduced a new software, 'Job Analyser' which assesses our use of language within job adverts and ensures language is not gender biased.

To drive our I&D agenda forward, and understand the gaps which need acting on, we ran our first voluntary Diversity Data Capture Survey. With a pleasing 52% response rate, the survey will help us understand our diversity landscape enabling us to build bespoke programmes and make better informed Decisions.

Current legislation requires that we report on our gender pay gap for any legal entities that employ more than 250 colleagues. We have decided to go beyond this and monitor the gender pay gap for all entities within the Group, as we believe it depicts a truer picture. You can view our latest Gender Pay Gap report here.

Partnering with GroceryAid

Achieving Gold Supporter status

Since 2018, our partnership with GroceryAid has seen us actively support their three critical pillars – awareness, fundraising and volunteering. For this, we are proud to have been awarded Gold Status Supporter for the third year running!

Critical to this ongoing success is our representation on both GroceryAid’s President and Southern Network Committees, as well as our dedicated network of Charity Champions who work across our business and through whom we are able to engage our wider colleague population to support fundraising activities and spread the word of the charity’s purpose, projects and support services. For instance, over the last twelve months, as well as celebrating GroceryAid Awareness Day and supporting several internal communication campaigns designed to raise awareness, our Charity Champions also helped us coordinate a suite of fundraising activities from quizzes, raffles and spin classes.

In addition, as a business we support GroceryAid’s own calendar of fundraising events through paid participation and through our colleagues volunteering their time. In 2019 this included their touch Rugby tournament, Barcode Festival and annual carol concert.

We remain passionate about supporting the important work of our industry charity partner GroceryAid.

“Premier Foods has been fantastic and really embraced our new awards scheme. Contributing across all three pillars of awareness, fundraising and volunteering, they have doubled their support. We can’t praise this effort highly enough.”

Steve Barnes
GroceryAid Chief Executive

Going the extra mile to support our communities in the Pandemic

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One of our three guiding principles during the pandemic was to play our part in providing food to the nation, including those most vulnerable, during this time of difficulty.

  • We participated in the Government’s vulnerable food parcels scheme.
  • We supported 28 hospitals local to our sites by providing more than 200,000 easy to prepare meals and snacks for our incredible NHS workers, with our colleagues at Nissin kindly offering 30,000 pots of noodles.
  • We’ve strengthened our partnership with FareShare, donating the equivalent of 550,000 meals to their network of food banks around the country.

In addition, our amazing colleagues up and down the country came up with great ideas to support their local communities including creating PPE and visors for their local NHS, sourcing out of stock items to make sure those relying on them would not go without, or hand sewing protective masks and tote bags for local nurses. Well done all!

To our impact on the planet:

  • Improved our BBFAW animal welfare ranking to reach a Tier 2 for our 100% cage-free eggs and all other animal-derived ingredients.
  • Switched to 100% RSPO certified Palm Oil and 100% RTRS certified Soy.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions across our operations by 43% (vs 2008 baseline).
  • 94% of our packaging is recyclable.
  • Exceeded the 25% industry-wide water reduction target to achieve a 59% water reduction (vs 2007 baseline).

Animal welfare

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We use animal-based ingredients such as milk, eggs, and meat across a range of our products. We believe all animals should be treated responsibly and with dignity, and we work with our suppliers to ensure that high standards of animal welfare are met.

We continuously advocate for greater awareness of animal welfare issues across our supply chain, and regularly engage with our suppliers to understand their practices and challenges. We seek to improve the lives of farm animals by increasing the visibility and extending the development of good animal welfare practices across our whole supply chain, including within our primary producers and indirect users of animal-derived ingredients.

Our Animal Welfare Policy embraces the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s stated Six Freedoms, identified to safeguard, and improve the welfare of livestock. They are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  • Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from pain, injury, or disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal's own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
  • Freedom to undergo positive experiences - by providing appropriate conditions to experience positive emotions and encourage natural behaviour.

You can find all our policies and reports for 2021 at this link

As a business, we ensure the ingredients we buy are sourced to high standards:

  • 100% of our dairy products are assured to various assurance schemes such as: Red Tractor (UK), RSPCA Assured (UK), Board Bia (Ireland), Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, or Origin Green and Organic.
  • 100% of our eggs are from cage-free hens (see for instance Mr Kipling).
  • 100% of our eggs are KAT certified. KAT is seen as a higher animal welfare scheme.
  • 100% of all other species are audited under various assurance schemes such as Red Tractor, RSPCA assured, EU standards or NZ standards.

Watch video interview of farmer Andrew Bray who supplies milk for Ambrosia


Whilst we were delighted to see this work recognised through a Tier 2 ranking by BBFAW in 2019, we continually seek to improve and so have set ourselves stretching intermediary goals to reach in 2023 and have included animal welfare goals in our Joint Business Plans with suppliers. We have also extended our work to reach the most difficult parts of our supply chain and rolled out our annual animal welfare survey to our animal derivatives suppliers to understand their practices and challenges. This work was recognised with our BBFAW score improving this year and retaining our Tier 2 ranking providing all our stakeholders with the independent verification and confidence in our commitments and practices.

The full report is available in the BBFAW's website: www.bbfaw.com/benchmark


We require all suppliers supplying products of animal origin to complete a set of questions on their approach to the management of animal welfare issues, as well as reporting on performance on various criteria. As part of this process, suppliers must confirm that they comply to the Premier Foods Animal Welfare Policy. In addition, we have incorporated animal welfare objectives into the joint business plans of our key suppliers to drive outcomes forward. In the event of non-compliance with the requirements of our animal welfare policy, our team will agree appropriate and time-bound, corrective actions with the supplier. Our supplier audit team will also arrange to visit the supplier's premises to review the process and suggest improvements to meet specification / animal welfare policy. If the supplier is then still unable to comply with our policy, we will serve notice and source from an alternative supplier that can meet our requirements.


In 2019, we have signed and agreed to the principles and policies of the Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials (FIIA). We sit on the Strategic Delivery Board of this body which brings together retailers, manufacturers, processors, and foodservice companies, to promote and support responsible antimicrobial use and action on antimicrobial resistance. This means that the farmers we work with stop using antibiotics as a proactive, preventative measure and only use critically important antibiotics, as defined by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as a last resort to safeguard their animals’ welfare where no alternative treatment option is available.

For more information, please visit: https://www.farmantibiotics.org/progress-updates/retail-foodchain


Sourcing Locally

... apples from UK orchards

Our Mr Kipling Apple Pies are the UK's favourite, but why do they taste so exceedingly good? Well, Mr. Kipling uses only fine tasting Bramley apples grown in UK orchards in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Northern Ireland. Once cooked, the Bramley becomes golden and fluffy, making it the ideal apple variety for pies.

The first 'Bramley' tree grew in a cottage garden in Nottinghamshire owned by Matthew Bramley and in 1856, a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Mr Bramley agreed but insisted the apples should bear his name. Each year, Mr Kipling buys total of 800 tonnes of Bramley apples to bake his much loved apple pies.

Sustainable palm oil

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Palm oil is an extremely versatile oil that has many different properties and functions. It is also an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil crop. To get the same amount of alternative oils like soybean or coconut oil would require anything between four and 10 times more land, which would shift the deforestation problem to other parts of the world and threaten other habitats and species (1). This is why we are committed to sourcing only sustainable, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil which protects the environment and the local communities who depend on it for their livelihoods, so that palm oil can continue to play a key role in food security. BM TRADA, the leading independent certification body, has certified all of our sites that handle palm oil as having RSPO-approved traceability systems, which means they are capable of guaranteeing the use of palm oil from sustainable sources. We are delighted to have maintained 100% RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified palm oil throughout the year.

License number: 4-0019-06-100-00. Check our progress at https://rspo.org/members/103/ Premier-Foods- Group-Limited

(1) Source '8 things to know about palm oil', WWF, available at: https://www.wwf.org.uk/ updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil].


Climate Action

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Energy efficiency and CO2 emissions

To achieve greater sustainability, we seek to reduce and mitigate our environmental footprint throughout our operations, and this year we are proud to have further reduced our energy consumption across our sites by 18.8% to 677.5 kWh per tonne of product, down from 832 kWh the year before. All of our manufacturing sites are accredited to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, except Knighton Foods which is working towards the accreditation for next year. We have continued to reduce our CO2 emissions, which this year decreased by a further 5.8%. This equates to a collective 42.7% reduction against our baseline figure of 103,102 tonnes of CO2 (taken as year ended 31 December 2008, when we first started to collect emissions data on a like-for-like basis, and adjusted for site disposals). Furthermore, we have ensured that all our sites (but Knighton Foods) are powered by green energy and have purchased Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates to provide us with the transparency and certainty of the origin of the electricity supply reaching our sites. This means that our CO2 emissions have in effect decreased by 61.5% against our 2008 baseline, surpassing our 55% absolute reduction by 2025 target four years early! (see our GHG disclosure on page 85).

Water stress and biodiversity

Having exceeded the 25% industry-wide water reduction target in 2020, we continue to work towards further reductions across our operations and have now achieved an impressive 59% reduction compared to our 2007 baseline.

Alongside this, we actively support the Courtauld 2025 Water Ambition and continue to play our part to improve the quality and availability of water in key areas of the UK where our ingredients are sourced. We work in partnership with the Tamar Water Stewardship Business Board, joining forces with other local organisations and The Westcountry Rivers Trust, to address the issue of water stress and the associated risks of water scarcity, flooding and water pollution in the River Tamar catchment area in Devon, where our Ambrosia Creamery is located. This collaborative project was recognised by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), the largest professional body for environmental practitioners, and shortlisted in the ‘Consultancy and Collaboration’ and ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’ categories of the 2020 IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards.


Food waste

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The UN has a number of sustainability goals (SDGs) and SDG 12 seeks to “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” The third target under this goal (Target 12.3) calls for cutting in half per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including postharvest losses) by 2030. In our commitment to support this, we have signed up to WRAP and IGD’s initiative Target, Measure, Act. We share the ambition to halve food waste globally by 2030 and are a member of Champions 12.3, a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organisations, research institutions, farmer groups, and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilising action, and accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3 by 2030. At Premier Foods, we are working to monitor, report and reduce our food surplus in line with this and are proud of our record of sending 0% to landfill since 2013 and are working to move our waste up the food waste hierarchy.

In the 2020 calendar year, we produced nearly 400,000 tonnes of food, an increase of around 63,000 tonnes compared with 2019 on account of unprecedented levels of consumer demand during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our food waste for 2020 was 7,778 tonnes, equating to 1.99% of the total food we produced, an 11.2% reduction from last year. We continued in our efforts to redistribute our surplus stock back up the human food chain, and by strengthening our partnerships with Company Shop Group and FareShare UK to support their mission of tackling food waste and food poverty, we redistributed 1,380 tonnes of products. This is three times more than the previous year, far exceeding our 750 tonnes redistribution target. We have also been actively involved in shaping the behaviours needed to tackle food waste across the supply chain.


Firstly, we became part of the first cohort of the Luminary Programme established by Company Shop Group. Our Group Environmental Manager has volunteered to become one of the mentors to this DEFRA-funded programme which combines a mixture of toolkits, activities and support to equip participants with the skills, network and confidence they need to be the driving force for change within their own organisation and throughout the supply chain.

Secondly, we were delighted to become a strategic partner of WRAP’s first ever Food Waste Action Week, aimed at raising awareness of the contribution of food waste within homes to climate change. With 70% of food waste happening at home, we used the power of our brands to help consumers reduce food waste and shared a range of easy ‘no brainer’ leftover recipes using products from our wide portfolio. Our regulatory teams also worked collaboratively with WRAP to develop guidance for other businesses on redistributing surplus stock past their Best Before Dates.

Furthermore, last March, we decided to increase our support to FareShare in order to reach more communities throughout the country, via their network of 25 depots liaising with over 12,000 charities (including food banks and community centres). Since then, we have redistributed more than 240 tonnes of products, which make up the equivalent of more than 550,000 meals. As part of our support to Food Waste Action Week in March, we also encouraged our manufacturing sites colleagues to donate products to support FareShare. In just a few days, our colleagues managed to collect 26 pallets of food (over 10 tonnes) and donated a mix of ambient surplus products and products that our colleagues had provided from their own cupboards.


Combatting water stress

Our tree planting programme

As a signatory of Courtauld 2025, we are committed to supporting its Water Ambition and playing our part to improve the quality and availability of water in key areas of the UK where ingredients are sourced to produce food and drink.

In 2017 we joined the Tamar Water Stewardship Business Board, joining forces with other local organisations, along with The Westcountry Rivers Trust, to address the issue of water stress and the associated risks of water scarcity, flooding and water pollution in the River Tamar catchment area in Devon, where our Ambrosia Creamery is located. After investigation, the Board concluded that by strategically planting woodland trees, it would be possible to both reduce the risk of soil erosion and increase soil water retention.

Premier Foods was already planting trees across the UK in partnership with the Woodland Trust, and in four years had funded 29 acres of woodland planting from the money we had saved by reducing our energy usage across our sites. We therefore decided to build upon this partnership by planting trees in an area that would address a known water stress challenge and benefit both communities and businesses within the catchment. This has resulted in us funding the planting of 16,000 trees within the River Tamar catchment area in early 2020.

Hazel Kendall, Head of Land Management at Westcountry Rivers Trust attends the Business Board and has been working with Premier Foods and others to progress collaborative working in the Tamar, as part of the CPES (Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services) project to develop new partnerships in environmental project delivery: “The opportunity to link together local interests based on a collective desire to improve our environmental performance is a brilliant outcome for the Trust and this is just one example of what’s possible as a result. By undertaking a mapping exercise to identify key areas of opportunity and risk, the Business Board were able to identify how to optimize any activity to deliver multiple environmental benefits such as boosting Biodiversity levels and increasing Carbon uptake, as well as water protection. We hope that it sends a message to others that there are numerous ways to get involved and we look forward to the next steps.”