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How we helped Quorn Foods improve their sustainability and save over £1m

Quorn Foods, the global market leader in meat-alternative foods, has found a way to reduce its impact on the planet while also delivering £1million plus savings – by working with us on its approach to sustainability.

What we did

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), carried out initial Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the Quorn manufacturing process which identified that the core ingredient of Quorn contains less than half the embedded carbon found in beef.

The KTP began in March 2011 with a view to improving the quality of data captured as part of the LCA and ensuring the latest standard for carbon footprinting, BSI PAS 2050, was adhered to.

The analysis focused on two products – Quorn mince and chicken-style pieces – both of which are available in a number of markets including UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

The result

The partnership to help understand and reduce the company’s carbon footprint has resulted in the brand being certified by the Carbon Trust, after a project team identified that by taking simple steps to further address environmental impact, Quorn Foods can reduce costs by over £1million in the medium term.

The findings of the two-year project have been summarised in an academic journal: The Life Cycle Analysis of meat-alternative foods – which highlights the carbon footprinting of Quorn as a best practice standard in the food industry.

They say

Carrying out this sophisticated level of carbon footprint analysis required the collection of high quality data, covering all stages of the lifecycle supply chain, including raw material input, product output, energy, waste and water use. This complex work paid off. Quorn is the first meat-alternative brand, and one of only a few food products in the world, to achieve this standard of Carbon Trust certification. The proven health benefits of Quorn, combined with its lower levels of embedded carbon compared with meat, suggests that by swapping Quorn for meat in meals, people can feel confident that it’s not only better for them, but also better for the planet.

Louise Needham, sustainability officer, Quorn Foods

Quorn was originally developed in the 1960s as a more sustainable alternative to meat, and as food security becomes more of an issue, the company was keen to take an even stronger stance on its planetary impact. The partnership fostered with the University will allow us to continue to build visibility into Quorn Foods’ environmental footprint and make its sustainability values part of how Quorn does business.

Dr Wayne Martindale, a Research Fellow from the University's Business School

Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

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