Fish Fingers, Biomass Part of Birds Eye's New Green Strategy

Fish Fingers, Biomass Part of Birds Eye's New Green Strategy

Image CC licensed by Flickr user plindberg

One of the U.K.'s leading food brands is embarking on a major green investment program as it seeks to make good on pledges to deliver deep cuts in carbon emissions, water consumption and environmental impacts.

Birds Eye Foods last week launched a new wide-ranging sustainability strategy, dubbed Forever Food, that includes targets to cut carbon emissions 30 percent against a 1990 baseline by 2020, reduce water consumption used in manufacturing by 20 percent against a 2007 baseline by the same date, and ensure zero waste is sent to landfill from U.K. operations by 2015.

The strategy also steps up the company's sustainable sourcing strategy, pledging to ensure that 100 percent of wild and farmed fish used in its products come from certified fisheries by 2012.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Peter Hajipieris, chief technical, sustainability and external affairs officer at the company, said a wide range of projects were already in the pipeline to ensure the targets were met.

He said the bulk of the savings would be delivered through improvements to energy and water efficiency at the company's facilities, but admitted that efficiency savings would only get the company so far. As a result, it is looking at investing in renewable energy systems.

"We are looking at technologies and processes that can improve efficiency, such as recirculating oil when flash frying, but we are also analyzing different renewable energy technologies," he said. "One option we are looking at is a biomass system that could be partly fueled by packaging waste."

He added that biodigestors could also be used at a number of the company's factories to generate energy from any unavoidable food waste.

Hajipieris also revealed that the company has already found an innovative way of saving energy during the production of its famous frozen fish fingers.

"What you find is that a lot of sustainability issues are interconnected," he explained. "We found when we were looking at reducing packaging levels, that making the size of the box for fish fingers smaller also cuts the energy it takes to freeze them, as they contain less air that you have to cool."

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user plindberg.