USA – American food production and distribution company Del Monte Foods has announced plans to invest in green production methods rather than purchase carbon credits in its push to achieve net zero by 2050.  

In addition to the steps it has already taken, the company has pledged to invest further in key areas to reduce its carbon emissions. 

Areas of focus include packaging innovation, regenerative agricultural practices, automation, renewable energy, and transportation efficiency. 

“It’s exciting to be aligned with the most aggressive path to net-zero,” Molly Laverty, environmental, social and governance senior manager at Del Monte Foods, said in a statement.  

“The food industry has an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Del Monte’s commitment comes at a time when consumer goods companies are under pressure to reduce their environmental footprint. 

Food companies are particularly on the radar as more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, according to a United Nations report issued last year.  

Companies thus have little choice but to do more as consumers increasingly vote with their pocketbooks at the grocery store.  

Although sustainability initiatives require additional investments, shoppers in many cases are willing to pay more for offerings that mirror their own personal values.  

A study from Mondelēz International found the majority of consumers are incorporating their values into what snacks they want to buy. 

And a separate study this year from Cargill said 55% of global consumers are more likely to purchase a packaged food item that is labeled with a sustainability claim, up four points from the company’s last survey in 2019. 

Snack giant Mondelēz International has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 across its value chain by focusing on sustainable ingredients sourcing, adopting renewable energy and improving the efficiency of its distribution logistics, among other measures.  

Swiss food giant Nestlé has set goals of halving its emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero by 2050, while Mars strives to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 in part through shifts in its agricultural supply chain.  

Similar commitments have been made by Mexican food giant Grupo Bimbo and UK consumer goods giant Unilever. 

In its recent announcement, Del Monte underscored many of the efforts it has undertaken already to reduce its carbon footprint. 

These include streamlining its operations to maximize output and eliminate unnecessary emissions from facilities operating at less than full capacity. 

Del Monte says it has also doubled its capital investment in production operations to add automation and other technologies for improved efficiency and reduced waste; invested in renewable energy; and cut food waste. 

Last year, Del Monte announced what it said is the industry’s first canned vegetable product to be certified by the Upcycled Food Association under its new upcycled certification program. 

 The company’s Blue Lake Petite Cut and Blue Lake Farmhouse Cut Green Beans are made with 100% upcycled and sustainably grown green beans from Wisconsin and Illinois. 

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