The business, which is owned by Monde Nissin, claimed its efforts make it the “first” major food brand to reduce – and ultimately eliminate – black plastics. Other food makers, such as UK meat group Cranswick, have also set out their ambitions to cut the amount of plastic in their supply chains, while retailers such as Iceland are working to introduce plastic-free private label ranges.
Quorn is targeting black plastic because it is non-recyclable. Last year, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found UK local authorities typically send black plastic to landfill.
The company said it will eliminate more than 297 tonnes of black plastic packaging from its supply chain by the end of this month.
In-store packaging of the “vast majority” of Quorn’s chilled range will move to white and opaque recyclable plastics.
Quorn is aiming to phase out the remainder of black plastics in its deli range - which accounts for approximately 10% of all chilled products - before the end of 2018 and is currently in “late-stage discussions and testing” with suppliers about the transition.
Commenting on the move, Quorn Foods CEO, Kevin Brennan said: “As a founding signatory of WRAP’s UK Plastic Pact, we are very excited to announce this positive change towards increased sustainability of our products. Moving so quickly to remove black plastic is a significant challenge, but one that, as a sustainable company, we view as being of the utmost importance. We view this as the right thing to do, despite the six-figure cost.
“Our customers will be able to continue enjoying Quorn as part of a balanced and healthy diet, knowing that we are committed to reducing all forms of food waste in our supply chain and to promoting and advancing sustainability without passing the cost onto consumers."
Quorn said the move is part of its wider ambition to be a “leader in sustainable nutrition”. The company, which produces alternative proteins, said it is at the “forefront” of “diversifying the modern diet”, improving environmental health and creating more sustainable solutions for food security.
According to Quorn, its products are a healthier and more sustainable alternative to animal-based items. For instance, Quorn Mince produces 90% less GHG emissions, 90% less land usage and 90% water usage than the beef mince equivalent.
“As the first global meat alternative brand to be awarded the Carbon Trust’s Carbon Footprint, this initiative will also improve the brand’s sustainable credentials further,” the company said.