CP Foods is one of the largest food and beverage conglomerates in the world, and in recent years it has greatly stepped up its sustainability efforts in terms of improving environmental and social impact as well as to future-proofing its business.
One of the key strategies the firm has identified in order to do this, as highlighted in its recent annual sustainability report, is to place added focus on healthier product innovation.
“CP Foods believes research and development is key to [efficiently] utilise science, technology and innovation to develop nutritious foods for consumers of all ages,” CP Foods Executive VP in Product Research and Development Head of Ambition – Sustainable Food Dr.Sommai Tachasirinugune said.
“Unhealthy food causes eight million premature deaths worldwide each year, and is expected to cause a global economic crisis as a result of increasing healthcare costs related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), estimated at over US$1.3tn yearly by 2030.
“In Thailand alone, the public sector spends THB302.4bn (US$8.5bn) yearly on the treatment of non-communicable diseases [and CP Foods believes that a key way to] alleviate and solve this problem is by developing food products with high nutritional value that meet requirements of consumers of all ages.”
The firm has a 2030 target for 50% of all its new products in Thailand to be developed to be healthier and more nutritious than current products.
“Some examples include chicken products that have had sodium reduced to be less than 600mg per serving and saturated fats to not more than 3g per serving, depending on the product,” he said.
“There are also other new innovations such as Meat Zero plant-based meat alternatives, U Farm antibiotic-free meat, CP Delight calorie-controlled RTE meals, Inno-Weness healthy drinks and CP flour- and tar-free sausages.”
To keep its products healthy, the firm has not only looked to new innovations but is also in the process of establishing a set of internal food standards to ensure the food safety aspect is addressed, an effort that has recently been certified by the British Standards Institution (BSI).
“CP Foods aspires to achieve a single global food standard [on] quality, food safety and sustainability throughout the value chain, which also integrates international standards like Good Hygiene Practices (GHPs), CODEX, ISO 9001, ISO22000, and more,” CP Foods Global Standard System Centre VP Kularb Kimsri said.
“Our pilot project, the Korat Model in Thailand, has recently been certified by BSI across our Nakhon Ratchasima province integrated chicken business, from the feedmill all the way to the food processing plant.
“The next step for us is to extend the CPF Food Standard to cover more of our chicken and duck businesses in more areas, which we intend to do this year, so as to assure our global consumers of the quality, safety and sustainability of the products they are purchasing.
“[It will allow] more efficient management of business risks as well, and CP Foods has also applied blockchain technology to develop a digital traceability system within this framework.”
The firm has also focused a great deal of effort in its water management, believing this to be a very key component of its environmental sustainability strategy.
In addition to the more common water recycling and reducing wastage, CP Foods has also been implementing a project dubbed ‘Fertiliser Water Sharing’, which essentially involves recycling the water produced from biogas production in its swine farms for agricultural purposes.
Essentially, the biogas system involves the use of animal manure to generate electricity or thermal power for other processes, and this system will see some waste water produced, which is treated and recycled for farms to water their crops with. This treated water is dubbed ‘fertiliser water’ as it contains plant nutrients that help to improve the growth and productiveness of the plants it is used to water, boosting the quality and quantity of these plants and reducing farmers’ fertiliser costs.
“In addition to helping farmers improve their productivity, this fertiliser water also helps them to reduce their dependence on chemical fertilisers, [which] also contributes to environmental sustainability,” CP Foods Executive VP Somporn Jermpong said.
“So far in 2022, we have seen 63 farmers use over 544,000 cubic metres of our fertiliser water to water some 2.6 million square metres of crops. The farmers reported a cost reduction of a total of THB1.8mn (US$50,941) in total, which would normally have been spent on chemical fertilisers.”