The Kewpie Group fully respects the “Put Product Quality First” for raw materials as well. To fulfill the principle, we have established the fundamental policy for sustainable procurement in our supply chain. We extend our social responsibility to include procurement of ingredients beyond our manufacturing and sales processes.
The Fundamental Policy for Sustainable Procurement
We strongly believe that “Fine quality is found in fine ingredients”. However, in addition to the focus on quality, we must also examine the impact on the environment and human rights caused by our products. Together with our suppliers, we analyse the impact of our products and work to increase sustainability while sourcing quality raw materials.
Initiatives for Supply Chain
The suppliers for raw materials and ingredients are valuable partners of the Kewpie Group. Through organizing our communication, we will achieve procurement of high-quality raw materials, trustworthy relationship, and mutual understanding. Furthermore, we address issues in our supply chain and strive to develop suppliers and sustainable groups rooted in an awareness of their impact on society.
Initiatives to Procure Sustainable Palm Oil
Palm oil is a vegetable oil harvested from oil palms grown in tropical regions, but recent developments have raised issues surrounding human rights abuses for farm workers and large-scale deforestation to develop farmland.
To ensure that we do not use raw materials that contribute to these issues and to help solve those issues, the Kewpie Group established the Kewpie Group Fundamental Policy for Sustainable Procurement in January 2018. Based on that policy, in July 2018, we joined the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) to procure sustainable palm oil for our group in the future.
About this Initiative
In FY2019, the Kewpie Group began purchasing certified credits: RSPO “Book and Claim System” * for 37% of the palm oil. By FY2021, 100% of the palm oil used by the Kewpie Group will be purchased with certified credits. After 2021, we will continue to examine subsequent initiatives to source certified palm oil.
*Book and Claim System
Certified credits are issued for oil produced by a RSPO-certified manufacturer.
By purchasing those certified credits, this system supports producers of certified palm oil.
Sustainable Procurement of Paper
The Kewpie Group procures paper and paper products from businesses that do not contribute to new deforestations, comply by the laws of the timber producing region and international human rights standards, and produce products through proper procedures.
We therefore aim to procure paper and paper products that are recognized by forest management certifications (such as the FSC® certification*). This allows us to confirm that the products were made from recycled paper or, depending on the business partner, through activities that do not contribute to new deforestations or human rights violations.
*An international forest management certification that ensures products were appropriately procured from responsibly managed forests and that limited forest resources can continue to be used in the future.
We push forward reduction of the paper consumption by devising corrugated cardboard structure and making it thinner while maintaining its strength.
Our Nico Nico Box series for baby food began using FSC certified paper in March 2019. A change in the design of the box enabled new functions like trays and puppets* to provide a fun meal experience while also conveying the importance of paper.
*Trays: two cups can be safely held in one hand. Puppet: the animal on the package opens and closes its mouth to encourage babies to chew.
Aohata collaborated with a carton manufacturer to use “Shelf-Ready Packaging” for the Aohata 55 jams UD150 series and the Calorie Half series, which resulted in reduction in carton weight by approximately 55 tons per year and reduction in CO2 emissions by roughly 33 tons per year. In addition to reducing hours required for opening and displaying products at the store, the modified carton shape lowers environmental impact by using less material.
The policy for procurement of shell eggs
We, the Kewpie Group, recognize that not only the impact on quality and environment, and consideration for human rights but also animal welfare is one of the important matters on the sustainable production and procurement of shell eggs.
Shell eggs we procure and use in our Group in Japan shall be complied with “the animal welfare guidelines for laying hens” published and being tried to be standardized by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. And we keep discussing what the way of management of laying hens in farms should be with related organizations and also will think about development of products which are made from cage-free eggs. We keep working on activities stated above with cooperating with industries and government.
Sustainable Procurement of Vegetables
The Kewpie Group offers salads and delicatessen foods made mostly from vegetable ingredients grown in Japan. We therefore consider the procurement of vegetable ingredients crucial to business continuity. Going forward, we will continue to communicate closely with producers to achieve the sustainable procurement of vegetables for the Kewpie Group and the continued growth and development of the producers.
Cooperation with farms
The promotion and development of local agriculture is paramount to the steady procurement of quality vegetable ingredients. At the same time, agricultural businesses are facing rising social issues such as extreme weather, lack of successors and an increasing number of uncultivated and abandoned fields. The Kewpie Group cooperates with farms across Japan to help resolve such issues.
Regional Development Based in Farming
Since FY2017, Kewpie has affiliated with World Farm Co., Ltd. in Tsukuba, Ibaraki to revitalize abandoned fields around Japan and turn them back into working farms. Currently, fresh cabbage from contracted farms is used as an ingredient in our cut vegetable products. Regular site visits and tours on contracted land, mutual understanding, and feedback would help improve the quality of the food. We seek more than just to source safe raw materials by developing the land, but we also want to attract young people to farming and contribute to the development of the region as a unified whole.
We also conduct cooperative research with universities and farmers to improve the effects of discarded eggshells and our “leaf vinegar” fertilizer to promote plant growth and prevent physiological plant disorders.
Young workers who will revitalize the abandoned land and carry on the farming tradition (Tsukuba, Ibaraki)
Production Awards by the Salad Club
Based on face-to-face interactions with growers, vegetables used in the Salad Club are sourced through “contract purchases” with approximately 400 farms around the country. “Contract purchases” are not just ways to securely source at set prices, but also allows growers to make strategic investments based on a steady income source.
As part of sourcing raw materials safety and reliability, employees from factories and ingredients teams visit farm regularly. Growers are also invited to join factory tours and we proactively work to connect with growers by supporting harvests, providing factory training, and holding barbeques.
Every April, we hold the Grower of Salad Club, an award ceremony to show our appreciation for contracted growers. We evaluate the quality of our primary raw materials and give awards like the Grand Prize, the Award for Excellence, and the Special Award (winners are posted in the Press Release section on the Salad Club website).
We are also building a circular agriculture system by partnering with the producers. We create feeds and fertilizers at our production plants with unused parts of vegetables that are left over from making packaged salad products. We then provide the fertilizers to farms to expand our connections.
The Grower of Salad Club 2019 ceremony
Aohata Initiatives with Fruit Growers
The regions from which the Kewpie Group procures fruits has expanded with the times to countries all across the world.
We believe that the quality of raw ingredients determines 70% of the deliciousness of processed agricultural foods. As such, we strive to build relationships of trust with our producers while also researching cultivation technologies so that we can steadily procure high-quality raw ingredients.