Alpro, one of the first worldwide companies specialising in plant-based foods and drinks, is celebrating 40 years since its foundation with the release of a new five-year health and sustainability action plan, titled ‘Feeding the Future With Plants’.
The report was announced today during a celebratory anniversary event at Wevelgem, Belgium, in the presence of local dignitaries, General Manager of Alpro Sue Garfitt, and Emmanuel Faber, CEO of parent company Danone.
“Alpro is playing an important role in maintaining a healthy society and planet,” said Garfitt. “We are leading a worldwide ‘food revolution’ by creating a broad plant-based category which is becoming an indispensable part of a healthy and sustainable life.
“The diets we have adopted are no longer sustainable for the planet, so we have to change the way we look at food production and consumptions. Millions of people are more aware of the personal and environmental benefits of plant-based foods and our mission is to achieve a fundamental dietary shift to more plant-based eating by 2025,” continues Garfitt. “This new report translates this mission into concrete commitments.”
Key measures to be achieved by 2025 include:
- Catalyst for net-zero operations with concrete climate ambitions for zero carbon, zero water, zero waste
- Defining clear action plans for the transition to regenerative agriculture, focussing on biodiversity and water use in particular
- Closing the loop on packaging with 100% recyclable packs (today, Alpro is at 76%) and introducing plant-based alternatives to yogurt in paper-based packaging
- Reducing water footprint per product by 60%
- Turning 50% of volume into a recognised source of fibre (today, Alpro is at 36%)
- Bringing even more diversity into the portfolio, using at least nine different plant-based ingredients (today, Alpro uses seven)
- Applying transparent, easy-to-read Front Of Pack (FOP) nutrition labelling to 100% of products
Four decades of plant-based pioneering
Alpro developed its first plant-based drink 40 years ago as part of an idealistic attempt to fight hunger in underdeveloped countries with soya-based alternatives to dairy products. Launching into European markets, the brand initially filled a niche for vegans, the lactose intolerant and allergy sufferers. Today, Alpro products are regularly purchased by one in three UK households and feature in shopping baskets around the world as an ethical, healthy and tasty choice.
“We started as a small company, but dared to go further,” said Garfitt. “Now millions of people are more aware of the health and environmental benefits of plant-based foods and drinks. People are making a conscious choice to include more plant-based foods in their daily lives.
“We are committed to changing the way the world eats for the better,” said Garfitt, “and driving the global 'food revolution' that Danone has called for.”
Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, says: “I am very encouraged that policy-makers are beginning to recognise the importance and urgency of evolving the food system towards a more sustainable path, working with nature instead of against nature. We welcome strong international commitments like the European Farm2Fork strategy. This initiative encourages consumers to adopt healthier and more sustainable eating habits, including more plant-based foods and drinks as part of the planetary diets scientific experts are calling for. It shows how the trend towards healthy and sustainable products is becoming unstoppable and the role food companies play in supporting flexitarian diets that are good for the planet and good for health.”
Ready for the future – new investments
To keep up with the rapidly growing demand for plant-based products, and to support its ambitions for 2025, Alpro also announces an investment of €30 million in its production sites at Kettering, Northants, and Wevelgem, Belgium.
Within this, the UK site, which employs 200 people, will receive a significant proportion of the investment to develop a new high-speed packaging line to produce 75 million extra packs of soya, oat, rice and coconut drinks a year. The investment reflects Alpro’s trajectory from niche product to a top 30 UK grocery brand and the rapidly growing demand for plant-based products.