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Bacteria to save 360,000 tons of yoghurt

700,000 tons – that is the amount of global dairy product waste Chr. Hansen, a Danish ingredients company, believes it can eliminate by 2020 to help tackle the world’s challenges and to boost its own earnings.
Chr. Hansen’s freeze drying facility in Avedøre produces bacteria for customers all over the world. Photo: Chr. Hansen.

Publiceret: 10.11.2016
Af Felix Bekkersgaard Stark mail

According to ingredients company Chr. Hansen, which has published a new researcher-assessed report on food waste, 360,000 tons of yoghurt can be saved annually in the EU with the use of FreshQ, a bacteria-based product developed by Chr. Hansen.

“This figure shows how much yoghurt waste we could eliminate if all dairies in the EU used our product. Of course, they don’t, but over the past year our product has meant that 100,000 tons less yoghurt has gone to waste across the world so we are well on our way,” says Marketing Director Peter Thøysen of Chr. Hansen.

The report published by Chr. Hansen also shows that a great need exists for reducing the waste of yoghurt. It documents that 17% of all yoghurt in the EU goes to waste. That is the equivalent of 1.5 million tons of yoghurt and half of that is thrown away by consumers who never even open the yoghurt.

“Our product works by extending the sell-by date by ensuring that nature’s own defence mechanisms protect the yoghurt against deterioration from yeast and mould, for example. This gives the yoghurt a longer life and thereby increases the probability that it will be eaten,” explains Peter Thøysen.

See also: CSR also makes good business sense

Part of a bigger plan

The product made by Chr. Hansen is part of the company’s strategic focus area of ‘bio protection’ and is also an important part of the company’s goal to help solve the challenges facing the world as they are set out in the UN’s 17 Global Goals.

“We are working hard to help solve three of the 17 goals. Elimination of hunger, health and well-being and responsible production. Both because we believe that it is our company’s responsibility to move the world in a positive direction and because there is great market potential in it. That is why we have set ourselves the target of reducing the global waste of dairy products by 700,000 tons by 2020 which is something we are well on the way to achieving,” says Peter Thøysen.

He points out that Chr. Hansen’s customers, who are mainly food producers, are increasingly being asked by retailers to demonstrate corporate responsibility.

“That is why our products are very much in demand as they contribute to meeting food producers’ own standards,” says Peter Thøysen.

See also: Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals

Responsibility is a competitive parameter

At Arla Foods, CSR Manager Kristian Eriknauer confirms that both consumers and retailers are increasingly looking for evidence of corporate responsibility.

“It clearly constitutes a competitive advantage. Consumers in the western world increasingly want to ensure that what they buy is part of the solution to the world’s problems. That is why part of our general environmental strategy is to reduce food waste from our products by 50%. We will do this by developing packaging that reduces waste and by collaborating with Fødevarebanken (the Food Bank), for example. The products made by Chr. Hansen are a great help in this,” says Kristian Eriknauer.

Arla Foods also works hard to fulfil three of the UN’s Global Goals. These three goals are the goals to eliminate hunger, to ensure decent jobs and economic growth and to ensure responsible consumption and production.

“We have just launched a project in Nigeria in partnership with CARE Denmark where we want to find out how to increase local milk production and improve the refrigeration chain to ensure that waste is reduced,” says Kristian Eriknauer.

See also: Refrigeration is hot in Africa

CSR is the future

At the Confederation of Danish Industry, Deputy Director General Tine Roed also points out that corporate responsibility will increasingly become decisive in whether companies are successful or not.

“Food has a high profile in the public debate, but it applies to all other areas as well. In the large multinationals, CSR and Global Goals are increasingly being incorporated into general business strategies and sub-suppliers are also increasingly being asked to contribute to fulfilling these goals,” says Tine Roed.

She also notes that surveys show that companies that focus on corporate responsibility earn more than those who do not.

“It is pretty obvious that companies solving global problems have a business model that is sustainable in the longer term. Those who are best at offering solutions get the biggest market share and Danish businesses are well positioned among their competitors,” says Tine Roed.

It clearly constitutes a competitive advantage. Consumers in the western world increasingly want to ensure that what they buy is part of the solution to the world’s problems.

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PUBLISHED: 11/10/2016 LAST MODIFIED: 5/6/2017