Business changes that are supporting a more greener outlook.
Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits Ltd, based in the heart of Brecon, has been baking crackers since 2008. Originally set up from the kitchen table by Allie Thomas and her daughter, Ella, the business now supplies supermarkets, delicatessens and online shops and exports to Europe and the Middle and Far East.
As well as having a passion for creating flavoursome biscuits, product designer Allie is also keen to do whatever she can to reduce the business’ carbon footprint. Since 2019, Cradoc’s has been powered by wind and tidal power, after contacting a green electricity provider to agree a tariff, Allie says:
"We’ve been fuelled by green energy for four years. It was important to us to make the conscious business choice so we could achieve net zero carbon. We didn’t want to rely on imported gas. We’re on a fixed tariff so our costs haven’t gone up,"
Where possible, ingredients are sourced locally or from within the UK; spices and herbs come from Chepstow, the cheese is made by South Caernarfon Creameries, the butter is churned in Caerphilly and the flour is provided by independent cooperative, Bako Wales.
Cradoc’s blend fresh vegetables into their crackers and, where they can, they choose local produce. Organic, dried flowers such as marigolds and lavender are also added into certain recipes.
The micro-business, which adopts a family-first ethos when it comes to its workforce, encourages its staff to walk to work, or to car-share and the company car is electric.
The Mid Wales firm is also reviewing its packaging. The cardboard boxes that contain the crackers are made from certified sustainable sources and the firm is currently exploring whether they can reduce packaging. Crackers are then delivered to stockists in reused cardboard boxes.
Waste is a big issue for Allie. She ensures that as much waste as possible is recycled and they supply the local foodbank with any redundant stock to avoid it ending up in landfill.
Having recently attended a six week Food Skills Cymru course that focussed on sustainability, Allie would recommend it to other businesses in the sector:
"Every business should undertake this training, it’s so impactful. We recognised our corporate responsibility towards sustainability some time ago. We had set some strategies but needed support in gathering the information, studying the guidelines and setting this against global views. So when the course was advertised by Food Skills Cymru we were delighted as it was just what we needed."
The course has inspired her to develop and implement Cradoc’s own training module for staff on waste management, which will spell out the climate crisis and how taking steps can help, Allie says:
"We’re always looking to see how we can improve. We have 25% of waste currently that’s not recycled so we need to get better at separating out rubbish. We’ll even be weighing our waste, to see if we are making a difference.
“It will impact on how staff operate, so the new training module will explain why it’s so important that we take every little step we can towards net zero.
“We’re not perfect by any means, we often make mistakes, but we’re getting better. The Food Skills Cymru explained the enormity of the situation and while it is easy to feel powerless, every little bit helps."
Carol Younger is a supervisor at Cradoc’s. She leads the team as well as production scheduling:
"Going forward, the training will make us more aware of what we need to be doing to meet this challenge. It will be challenging as we need to change our work practices. But we realise we can do more to help the environment and that means we have to get fully behind this change and deliver it as a team."
Sarah Lewis, Food Skills Cymru Manager:
"Since the launch of the Sustainability Training Programme earlier this year, we have supported nearly 50 micro, SMEs and large businesses. The programme is specifically designed for the Welsh food and drink manufacturing sector and equips the individuals with the knowledge, competencies and abilities to make better decisions and implement changes within their businesses for a more sustainable future, helping to move the sector towards Welsh Government’s ambitions of Net Zero."
Funding is available to support the Food Skills Cymru Sustainability Training Programme. If you would like to find out more, please contact email@example.com or call 01982 552 646.