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Interview About Sustainability with Customer Griffith Foods

Posted April 16, 2019

The concept of sustainability has an influence on a wide variety of global debates. The entire economy, power generation, production, agriculture and consumer goods sectors are scrutinized for their ability to be sustainable.

Consumer decisions are now made from an ethical perspective, often first and foremost. Products and retailers who have signed up to such standards are more popular, with a greater license to operate, among consumers.

Sustainable work is being carried out at the supposed end of the product life cycle too with focus on re-use of materials and reduction of waste. Ideally, no waste will be produced in private households thanks to the zero-waste concept and thinking.

The industry is also increasingly investing in ecologically safe production processes. Food will be produced while sparing our resources to guarantee sustainable and comprehensive supplies. Decentralized vertical farming concepts and a smart form of agriculture are already contributing to this.

To find out more about the sustainability trend from a customer perspective, the food technologies team at Kemin had a fascinating conversation with Griffith Foods to understand how it incorporates sustainability in its day to day practice.

Griffith Foods has been a customer of Kemin Food Technologies for about four years now. The international food manufacturer with American roots specializes in tailor-made ingredients for seasonings, coatings, sauces and other food products for the B2B market.

Sustainability is a core value for Griffith Foods. The Griffith Foods Sustainability Platform is founded on three key pillars - People, Planet and Performance.

We met with Caroline Chabot, Communication Manager Europe at Griffith Belgium, and Guy Deckx, Buyer Griffith Foods.

“During our conversation it became clear to me there is an open, trustworthy and solid collaboration between Kemin and Griffith Foods. This is something that was established over the years. That is what I call ‘partnership’!”


Tell us about Griffith Foods.

Caroline: “Griffith Foods specializes in creating food products that consumers love, such as seasonings, sauces, dressings and coatings. We create unique solutions for our customers and deliver tailor-made services to a variety of quite specialized problems and challenges. We are constantly responding to the desires of consumers with the focus on innovative health & nutrition solutions while respecting and sustaining the planet.

Beyond that, we remain heavily focused on innovation and have about 5000 different product lines and ideas, some of which will become mass market concepts over the coming years.

This year, we are celebrating our 100 th anniversary and amazingly the fourth generation is still leading the firm and in many ways the industry. That’s quite a unique achievement.

Despite having 600 employees in Europe, the owners want to ensure a family atmosphere in all our locations worldwide and a family culture which means there is a deep level of trust between us all.


What’s the mission of Griffith Foods?

Caroline: “Our mission is our purpose… to ensure ‘We blend Care and Creativity to Nourish the world.’ This is reflected in the way we act and interact with our employees as well as our external stakeholders. To achieve this mission, we rely on extended consumer insights by combining food and sensory science with our culinary expertise.”


Does sustainability play an important role in the accomplishment of this purpose?

Caroline: “Absolutely! Sustainability ensures that, what we do to succeed, leads to the responsible growth of our customers’ and Griffith’s business. We established a sustainability platform built on three pillars - People, Planet and Performance. For every product we make and every initiative we take, we look at the impact on these three pillars to ensure we remain faithful to our responsibilities but also partner with like-minded companies to ensure our supply chain is transparent and fit for purpose. In one word, it’s about trust. We must be trusted to deliver to all our stakeholders – that means employees, customers, suppliers and above all the consumer.


Can you give us some examples of sustainable initiatives?

Guy: “First of all, we strive for healthier nutrition. That’s our core business. We achieve this by using clean-label ingredients, which is the most important reason why we work together with Kemin. Furthermore, we have a global Strategic Sourcing Program that targets farm-level integration of the supply chain. This consists of organizing farmer groups to adopt best cultivation practices and organize regular monitoring and documentation. These farms are certified by Rain Forest Alliance for sustainable practices. We ensure a sustainable impact in the areas where we operate by investing in infrastructure, transferring our knowledge, provide training and an increase in local incomes.”


Any other initiatives that lower Griffith’s environmental impact?

Guy: “Well, by extending the shelf life of products, you reduce food waste. Furthermore, 76% of our packaging is fully recyclable; we are replacing wooden pallets with more sustainable plastic versions. We provide our suppliers with a sustainability rating that is part of a balanced scorecard. We are also minimizing the use of plastic film packaging to reduce our carbon footprint.”


How does Kemin Food Technologies assist you in achieving your sustainability goals?

Guy: “As mentioned earlier, we strive for healthier nutrition. Kemin’s clean-label solutions like sustainably grown certified rosemary extract and green tea extract offer an alternative for E-numbers and help us in that manner. Kemin offers vertically integrated plant extracts that allow us to know the source of our raw materials throughout the entire supply chain.

In addition, Kemin’s Customer Laboratory Services (CLS), offers dedicated support throughout all phases of testing to understand the influences of all food ingredients on the stability of our final product. This is crucial for the quality of our products. Kemin also takes its environmental responsibility concerning packaging, energy-efficiency and waste management. But also, its social responsibility by supporting the local community with charity initiatives. Finally, both being companies with American roots, we have many shared values.  


What about the future?

Guy: To us Kemin is not just an ingredient supplier, they are our partner. I am sure there will be more projects in the future to work on together. The fact that Kemin has put sustainability as a key strategic priority will continue to ensure a long-term relationship. Kemin demonstrates a commitment to sustainability as the way to improve life today and for generations to come.


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