We were often her taste testers when she got home, so I learned from an early age that food safety is everybody's business.
I am now Head of Quality Management for Nestlé and I have continued my mother's legacy, working to provide the best consumer experience: products that are safe, nutritious, delicious, and good for the planet.
Rocio and Tania are strawberry farmers in the small town of Almonte in Southern Spain. With Nestlé's backing, they plant flowers and plants that attract predator insects that help manage pests, reducing the amount of chemical pesticides used. This is the perfect example of our principle in action: linking benefits for people and the planet and ensuring that we take an innovative approach to food safety with sustainability in mind.
Here are four ways that teams like ours can bring sustainable food safety to life:
Set a big vision
In my work, I'm thinking constantly about the millions of families who choose to make our products part of their daily lives. Earlier this year, the consumer research organization Morning Consult named Nestlé among the most trusted brands in the world. We plan on continuing to earn that trust every day, in every product that is safe and good for the planet, and we don't take that responsibility lightly. At Nestlé, every local project starts in the spirit of our impact worldwide. We have made bold public commitments on sustainability that help drive and inspire our day-to-day action. For instance, we've committed to making 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and aiming for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest. It takes a strong, ambitious vision to ground our efforts and help show our communities what goes into making their food.
To protect food safety without waste, start early with partners
We are working with over 500,000 farmers across the globe to source, manufacture and distribute food in a way that is at-once good for people and the planet.
With our farmers, we work to set our partnerships up for success from the very beginning, like in a recent collaboration in Brazil. There, we keep our dairy products safe by making sure there are no antibiotic residues in milk. If any milk is found to have antibiotic residue, it's discarded.
By collaborating with dairy farmers and The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, the Nestlé team helped enable the farmers to provide safe and antibiotic-free milk. Nestlé laboratories also developed more accurate, sensitive, and rapid testing methods to screen for antibiotics. As a result, milk waste has greatly reduced.
Look for sustainability opportunities in unexpected places
Another example comes from our production facility in Llanquihue, Chile. To produce safe and healthy food, the team uses machines that eliminate harmful bacteria by applying heat to hermetically sealed containers of food. That heat, though, was proving a lot of energy. The Nestlé team in Chile partnered with equipment providers to redesign the machines to be more energy-efficient while still delivering on safety needs. They now provide more uniform temperature distribution and a reduction in processing times. This results in safe and more consistent product quality, while reducing steam consumption by more than 75%.
Don't forget the package
Packaging is critical for food safety - it's how food is protected throughout its journey to your kitchen. As we break new ground with sustainable innovations, we're finding new materials and approaches to prevent environmentally-unfriendly waste, while maintaining the same level of food safety as always. For example, we are exploring food-grade recycled plastic to produce new plastic water bottles, so that instead of using new resources, your bottle can be made from other bottles. With adaptations in food safety practices, we can increasingly use recycled and alternative materials across different kinds of products. For example, by adapting new and recycled materials, we can reduce waste and improve the impact our products have on the planet.
In some cases, your food or drink could avoid using disposable packaging at all. In our circular economy partnership with TerraCycle, the Loop platform brings back the 'milkman model.' Products are provided to consumers, while at the same time empty containers are picked up or dropped off. The containers are then properly washed, checked, refilled, and safely restocked for delivery to another consumer.
Safe food is non-negotiable, and I'm so proud to be a part of the dedicated expert team working at every farm-to-fork stage to make sure that the food in your kitchen is safe for you and good for the planet.