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Customers appreciate the quality of our products and our reliability. This drives us to continuously optimize our products, including with regard to sustainability, and to develop new products. The use of sustainable ingredients is particularly important to us in this respect, including the increasing use of certified raw materials.
In the food industry, globally recognized certifications are the basis for trustworthy cooperation. This also applies to sustainability. We process raw materials that are certified in accordance with Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, RSPO, organic seal and FSC® seal.
Cocoa is a precious commodity that passes through many hands and travels over several continents on its journey from the farm to the finished product. The KRÜGER GROUP has been actively committed to increasing sustainability in the cocoa sector for many years.
Cocoa is our most important ingredient for the production of semi-finished products and chocolate goods. It is used for example, in chocolate bars, chocolates, fillings, spreads and beverages. Sustainability is particularly important in the case of cocoa, much of which is grown by smallholder farmers in West Africa. Many farmers cannot make a good living from cocoa farming because they have little access to modern agricultural knowledge. In addition, local cocoa buyers do not always pay fair prices. In order for the farmers to still be able to make a living, rainforest is often cleared to obtain new cultivation areas, while the existing cultivation areas are managed too intensively. By sourcing sustainably grown cocoa, we contribute to improving the living and environmental conditions of the local community.
Regionality is an important sustainability factor. It saves truck traffic in particular and enables the improvement of sustainability aspects through personal contact. When it comes to milk, for example, predominantly regional producers are used.
The KRÜGER GROUP produces many high-quality products from the raw material milk: from infant nutrition and milk derivatives to special powders for cappuccino and chocolate production. In this case, our approach is a regional one. The majority of all milk-based powders are produced at Milchwerke ”Mittelelbe” in Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt.
The milk is processed here with many other ingredients to produce baby food, special clinical nutrition products for infants, special milk powders, milk proteins, and ready-to-drink products for the fitness sector. All contract farmers certified in accordance with the QM-Milch standard – all of whom are based within a maximum distance of 150 kilometers around the ”Mittelelbe” dairy – supply us with around 1.2 million liters of milk every day. The cows are kept free of tethers in loose housing all year round, and 88% of the farms also offer opportunities for exercise. Meanwhile, 59% of the companies are involved in the generation of renewable energy.
Sustainability in milk processing is a complex topic because it includes not only the quality of life and health of the animals, but also the most extensive possible cultivation of the farmland, the climate-friendly application of fertilizer, biodiversity, the use of renewable energy, the employment situation of the employees, and the economic viability of the farm.
We are among the pioneers in the industry: all contract farmers of Milchwerke ”Mittelelbe” participate in the nationwide milk sustainability program QM-Nachhaltigkeitsmodul Milch 2.0 (QM Sustainability Module Milk 2.0). As with its predecessor pilot program from 2017 to 2020, this is a collaborative project between academia and practitioners. The QM-Milch association, which sets and inspects quality standards for milk production in Germany, is involved, along with its supporting associations Milchindustrieverband, the Raiffeisenverband and Deutscher Bauernverband, the Land und Markt project office, and the Thünen Institut für Betriebswirtschaft. Elb-Milch was one of 34 dairy plant that participated in the pilot phase of the sustainability module. Nearly 7,500 milk producers nationwide took part in the sustainability survey. The QM sustainability module for milk comprises 86 sustainability test criteria from the areas of ecology, economy, animal welfare, and social issues, which are evaluated in a single system. The evaluation shows where any strengths or weaknesses lie in comparison with other farms in order to develop them further.
The link between health, individuality, and sustainable living is an important topic for many people. It thus has a major impact on the future of the food industry: sustainable, ecological, respectful, and healthier nutrition is possible and is increasingly in demand.