Heinz is committed to working together with major stakeholders from industry, government and the public to help achieve a more sustainable approach to sourcing raw ingredients for our products. We are also focused on safety and quality, and we set strict buying specifications in order to meet these requirements. In 2012, Heinz was recognized with a Justmeans Social Innovation Award for Best Incorporation of Ethical Sourcing or Certification.
Sustainably Sourced Cocoa - UTZ Certified
Background: Poor soil fertility management, aging tree stocks, improper use of chemicals, uncontrolled deforestation and poor labor conditions are several of the challenges faced by the cocoa industry. These factors also represent imminent threats to the sustainability of cocoa farming. As consumers grow increasingly aware of these situations specific to the cocoa industry, they demand products that are sourced in a responsible way.
Position: As we announced in our last report, our De Ruijter brand in the Netherlands was the first major chocolate sprinkles manufacturer to announce the switch to UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa that adheres to sustainable agriculture practices for the cocoa supply. We are pleased that all cocoa bought by Heinz as of January 1, 2013 is 100% sustainable – UTZ CERTIFIED. This includes the De Ruijter, Venz and Kwatta brand chocolate sprinkles brands. The move to UTZ CERTIFIED cocoa is an important step that helps to provide a sustainable future for Ivory Coast cocoa growers. By teaching growers safe and more efficient farming practices, the quality and yield of cocoa beans will increase, resulting in a better income for farmers and knowledge shared throughout the supply chain. UTZ CERTIFIED works together with major stakeholders from industry, government and the public to help achieve a more sustainable cocoa sector. The Code is internationally recognized, and the goal is to reach many small farmers and involve them in the global supply for responsible cocoa.
Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
Heinz recognizes that unsustainable cultivation of oil palm contributes to deforestation, climate change and a lack of biodiversity in oil-producing countries.
Background: Heinz has been committed to the sourcing of certified sustainable palm oil and has a solid track record of continual improvement on the company’s journey to achieve 100% certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2013. In the last report, we announced that Heinz converted our largest global palm oil usage to segregated certified palm oil sources from a new plant in the Netherlands. As a result, Heinz began using segregated certified sustainable palm oil in manufacturing frozen potato products at our Westwick factory. Heinz also reduced our palm oil usage in North America through product reformulation to enhance product health and wellness.
Commitment: Heinz completed its conversion to 100% certified sustainable palm oil in December 2013. Our Global Sustainable Palm Oil Steering Team, which includes our key regional procurement, quality and R&D personnel, assesses and facilitates compliance with this goal globally. This team also works closely with Research & Development to ensure that palm oil is only used in new products when there is no technical or commercial alternative available. We are also reformulating existing recipes to incorporate alternative environmentally responsible sources.
Heinz promotes the use of palm oil from sustainable sources through our membership in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This not-for-profit association brings together stakeholders — including palm oil producers, palm oil processors or traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and investors, environmental or nature conservation non-government organizations (NGOs), and social or developmental NGOs — to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.
In its November 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said, “This Scorecard shows that a handful of companies like... Heinz have done exactly what WWF has asked of them. They have put the effort into making sure they’re in a good place to meet their commitments to use Segregated CSPO and to move away from relying on Book and Claim certificates.”
Farm Animal Welfare
Heinz recognizes that animal welfare is a growing consumer interest.
Background: Heinz is one of the world’s premier food companies. At Heinz we have always been committed to providing safe, wholesome and nourishing foods that enhance the lives and well-being of people everywhere – a philosophy that extends throughout our supply chain, and in particular in our approach to animal welfare. As with all ingredients, the primary concerns for Heinz are safety and quality, and we set strict buying specifications in order to meet these requirements. At Heinz, the provenance of our ingredients is important to us. We have a long-standing history of ensuring traceability in our agricultural supply chain, and we share best practices across our global business. We keep our meat supply chain as short as we can in order to maintain the best possible levels of ingredient traceability.
Heinz believes that animals should be treated with compassion and we are committed to ensuring that the ingredients we purchase from our suppliers are produced in a sustainable and ethical manner. Heinz does not operate any animal processing facilities and is not a leading buyer of animal-derived ingredients. However, we have several ongoing initiatives and a global position statement to ensure a consistent approach on animal welfare for our animal-derived products.
Cage Free Eggs:
Heinz is not a major user of eggs and therefore we have little to no influence on the costs of egg prices either in the U.S. or globally. That said, Heinz has made a commitment to source our eggs from cage-free chickens as suppliers meet our growing request for this ingredient. Specifically, in the U.K., we use free-range eggs in Heinz Mayonnaise.
Across all Heinz businesses, we continue to work with our egg suppliers to review and further understand the options and capabilities in cage-free sourcing going forward. We ask stakeholders to work with major egg suppliers and users to bring down the costs of cage-free eggs, which today are significantly higher than those of caged eggs.
Heinz applauds and supports industry efforts to move away from using gestation crates for pregnant sows. The Company is currently working with its pork suppliers to understand and document their plans to reduce or end the use of gestational crates. This information is used to inform the Company’s choice of suppliers now and in the future, in an effort to increase the Company’s use of pork from crate-free sources.
Position: Heinz recognizes that many consumers have concerns about animal welfare and we take these concerns seriously. First and foremost, no Heinz products are tested on animals. Secondly, Heinz suppliers are required to have implemented validated Animal Welfare Programs to prevent the abuse of animals. These Animal Welfare Programs are to be compliant to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA), the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. Heinz requires written confirmation of compliance to these Animal Welfare Programs. Heinz requires formal Animal Welfare Assurance programs at each of our supplier locations validated through audits and a target training program to preserve the health and well-being of the animals and food safety of the finished products.
In addition to compliance with all local legislation in force in the country of origin, Heinz requires that its suppliers adhere to the principle of the Five Freedoms for animal welfare:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst;
- Freedom from discomfort;
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease;
- Freedom to express normal behavior; and
- Freedom from fear and distress.