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.
Collaboration with Carboard and Paper Manufacturers
We cooperate with carboard and paper manufacturers from the standpoint of protecting the environment and human rights and promote purchasing FSC certified products that use appropriate forest management practices. Currently, more than 60% of our cardboard and paper is FSC certified paper. We also promote reducing paper use through cardboard manufacturing processes that make cardboard thinner while maintaining 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.
Cooperating with Egg Producers
We, the Kewpie Group, visit each poultry farm and consult with our contracted farmers’ concerns while conveying customer feedback about our products. This allows us to create a cooperative system for mutual growth and development among the Kewpie Group and farmers. In this way, we generate more opportunities for eggs to reach dining tables, which we believe will support the development of the industry with an increase demand for farmed eggs. We also recognize animal welfare in egg procurement, connect with poultry companies, and operate according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries poultry production guidelines.
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 also engage in circular agriculture with our growers as partners. We provide them with compost produced from our factories, which deepens our connection to the land where it is used.
The Grower of Salad Club 2019 ceremony
Aohata Initiatives with Fruit Growers
Raw material farms for the Aohata Group have spread around the world. To procure raw materials that are safe and delicious, our R&D technicians visit farms in Japan and abroad, engaging in seminars and technology exchanges that cover everything from raising and cultivating seedlings to primary processing. In FY2011, we began to develop and supply a virus-free strawberry to consistently ensure high-quality raw materials, which has also contributed to increasing yields and stabilizing production for farmers.