Waste case study: Birds Eye

Birds Eye (or Nomad Foods) has been a market leading pioneer in the frozen foods market since 1923. Its original ethos of food preservation through freezing lends itself well to their waste reduction strategies in more recent years. 

In-house waste management

Since incorporating an in house waste management service in 2014 they are making strides. At their Lowestoft factory they installed a cardboard compactor which has saved £24,000 in transport costs over two years. Used cooking oil is now returned and made into biodiesel, giving a £50,000 rebate. Currently 83% of their packaging is recyclable. By 2022, 100% of their consumer packaging will be recyclable, reducing waste for the consumer, as well as increasing the proportion of renewable packaging from 35% to 47% from 2019-2020. 

Food Waste

With their parent company Nomad Foods, they are particularly committed to reducing food waste in their operations. They are a member of WRAP UK’s Courtauld Commitment to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025, in addition to greenhouse gas emissions reductions and a reduction in water use in their supply chain. As a frozen food brand who proudly flash-freezes their produce within hours of harvesting, their food waste volume is amongst the lowest in the industry. When it comes to food waste that is unavoidable, such as peapods, potato peelings and other vegetable scraps, these are redistributed as animal food or sent to anaerobic digestion where they can become fertilizer or renewable energy. Since 2015 they have reduced edible food waste by 31%. They have also reduced carbon emissions from waste and materials by 30% per tonne of finished goods. This was through implementing segregation of animal materials and non-animal material ingredients.

Surplus supply

In 2020 during the Covid pandemic they increased the volume of meals donated to food banks to an astonishing 1,700,000 meals equivalent, up from 489,579 meals in 2019, reducing food waste as well as supporting vulnerable communities. In 2020 they became a member of 10x20x30 – the global campaign to half food loss and waste by 2030.

Sustainability at sea

The company has joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to fight ocean waste & pollution from fishing operations. The GGGI aims to establish a global baseline of the volume of data on ghost gear. Nomad Foods’s internal Sustainability Ambassador Network contributed to the GGGI by translating the Reporter app into seven different languages.