Greener wheat: Nestle launches new regenerative farming initiative

Shredded Wheat could soon be produced for breakfast tables across the UK using innovative low carbon and regenerative agricultural practices, thanks to a major new initiative from food giant Nestlé.

Nestlé Cereals today announced the launch of its Nestlé Wheat Plan, which it described as an “innovative sustainable farming initiative through which the business is forming partnerships with British wheat farmers to support the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices”.

The plan has already been trialled with a number of UK farmers and Nestle said it was now looking to steadily expand the number of farms it is working with to significantly reduce the environmental impact of their activities.

As part of the plan, farmers are provided with training and support as they adopt regenerative farming methods that reduce pesticide use, carbon emissions, and soil erosion, while simultaneously improving organic soil matter and biodiversity.

For example, practices like cover cropping serve to protect water quality and ensure soil is not left bare and vulnerable to erosion, while reduced cultivation can help keep soils healthier and reduce CO2 losses to the atmosphere and hedgerow planting can both create new habitats for biodiversity, Capture carbon, and reduce soil erosion risks.

Robin Sundaram, responsible sourcing manager at Nestlé UK & Ireland, said the plan would help reduce environmental impacts and help enhance farmers’ resilience to escalate climate risks.

“The announcement of the Nestlé Wheat Plan is evidence of our long-term commitment and ambitious plans to make delicious breakfast cereals while having a positive impact on the environment where our wheat is grown,” he said. “We know that production of crops depends on the state of the natural environment, which can be uncertain due to changing weather conditions. We also know that this will only get worse due to climate change.

“By supporting our wheat farmers to transition to more regenerative farming practices they will become more resilient in the long term, as well as reduce their environmental impact with benefits for carbon, flood mitigation, water quality, air quality and soil health. will also help us maintain the stable wheat supply necessary to continue producing the nation’s favorite cereals.”

The new scheme was welcomed by Ian Matts, a Northamptonshire-based farmer working with Nestlé Cereals to supply wheat for Shredded Wheat. “Initiatives like the Nestlé Wheat Plan are fundamental to the successful transition to regenerative farming for both farmers and the wider industry,” he said. “We’ve been using regenerative farming methods for six years and have begun to see the positive effects it has made on the farm.”

To support the launch, Nestlé Cereals has included the Nestlé Wheat Plan on its Shredded Wheat packaging across all major retailers. The back of pack now provides information on “better farming” practices and directs consumers to the Nestlé Cereals to find out more.

The news comes in the same week as the government launched its new Food Strategy, which announced plans to ramp up investment in innovative sustainable farming and practiced Ministers plans to reform farming subsidies to ensure landowners are rewarded if they embrace measures that boost biodiversity and reduce environmental impacts. However, the Strategy was widely criticized by farming and environmental groups, who accused the government of ditting more ambitious proposals to encourage regenerative agricultural practices and a switch to more plant-based diets.

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