Mash Direct (www.mashdirect.com), the award-winning ‘field-to-fork’ vegetable accompaniments brand, has partnered with non-profit organisation Foundation Earth (www.foundation-earth.org) to launch a new line of ecological packaging, designed to allow consumers to easily make more sustainable choices whilst shopping, driving change in the industry.
Foundation Earth has brought together two of the world’s leading systems (Mondra and EIT**) for measuring the environmental impact of an individual food product and communicating the information clearly and simply via a traffic light style system to consumers via a front-of-pack score.
This method of individual assessment using primary data is crucial to encourage sustainable innovation in the international food supply chain moving forward.
Mash Direct is one of the first companies to have signed up to this pilot scheme, hoping to drive awareness and lead change within the food and drink sector and to share a vision for the future encouraging more environmentally friendly innovation from food producers and sustainable buying choices.
The Foundation Earth product grading scores will initially be shown on five SKUs: Mash Direct’s Mashed Potato, Champ, Carrots & Parsnips, Mashed Turnip and Colcannon. The scoring system is based on the individual products Carbon Output (g CO2 eq), Water usage, Water Pollution and Bio-diversity impact. The brand aims to roll out the packaging to other products next year, as part of the company’s wider sustainability ambitions.
The scoring system is uniquely designed to analyse the whole life-cycle of an individual product, such as Mashed Potato, as opposed to using secondary data to estimate the environmental impact of an entire product group. This will allow customers to directly compare the sustainable credentials of two competitor products to make an informed decision whilst they do their grocery shopping.
Speaking about the launch, Jack Hamilton, chief executive of Mash Direct, said “We are excited to receive 4 A and 1 B rating on selected products in our range, this is a very positive new addition to our packaging. It pushes the boundaries for us as a company too, as it drives us to be as environmentally sustainable as we possibly can across all aspects of our product lifecycle. The advantage for us is that all our products are grown and manufactured on site ‘from field to fork’ so we have full control over that element of their journey. Our ambition is to improve on our sustainability year on year and we will publish our sustainability report annually to track where we are making progress as well as where we need to make further improvements, we will then have our information independently assessed to ensure that we are measuring accurately. This will ensure that there is provenance and transparency in the food system, driving positive change not only at Mash Direct but also, we hope, with others”.
Cliona Howie, chief executive, Foundation Earth adds: “Its motivating to work alongside forward-thinking brands like Mash Direct which is one of the first to deliver our front-of-pack Eco Impact scores allowing consumers to quickly and simply understand the impact linked to their food choices. Momentum is building quickly, and scores will start appearing on products from more companies soon.”
Mash Direct is an award-winning independent company started by Martin and Tracy Hamilton at their family-run farm in Comber, in 2004. The Hamilton’s began farming the fields around Strangford Lough back in the 1800s and the land has been passed down through six generations, bringing with it a wealth of understanding and knowledge of the area and growing conditions.
After successfully growing and selling vegetables for 25 years, Martin, who is a fifth-generation son of the soil, and Tracy decided to embark on a new direction for their farm, with the aim of combining the tastes of yesterday with modern convenience and innovation.
Today, Mash Direct is a family affair with Martin, Tracy and both of their sons, Lance and Jack all helping Mash Direct on its journey to become a national, household name. From the initial dream of making traditional ‘Ulster’ Champ for convenience in 2004, the Hamilton family has grown Mash Direct into a National household brand, employing 245 people.
The Hamilton family developed a small factory on their farm to capture a traditional cooking style, specially designing and building a number of pieces of equipment including a unique masher and steam cooker. The bespoke equipment ensures that the vegetables can be steamed gently to retain optimum nutrients and capture the fresh harvested flavour and texture.
Left: Jack Hamilton, Mash Direct chief executive, and Adam Patton, sustainability manager of Mash Direct, launch the new Eco Score packaging to encourage customers to buy more sustainably