Kellogg’s has had a great influence on how people viewed breakfast in the western world, and it didn’t take very long for it to have the same effect globally. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and cornflakes is usually my go to option just because it’s so effortless and quick. I was very curious on how much thought these large corporations like Kellogg’s put into their sustainability initiatives.
On a whole, I am very pleasantly surprised at how sustainable Kellogg’s is as a brand. I find it super difficult to trust big corporations and I spent a lot of time doing research trying to dig dirt, but I was rather impressed by the kind of initiatives they have in place. One concern I have is their initiatives aren’t particular to a particular product and everything is very generalized, so it’s not easy to figure out if the way they’re making their cornflakes is similar to the way they make another product. Since they’ve also set 2020 as their deadline for a lot of goals, I would be very interested to see how far they’ve come along with respect to those and what their further plans are. On another note, it might be beneficial for them to keep updating their website so consumers can follow up on their initiatives and this way it’ll also build mutual trust.
The primary ingredient used for making this is pretty obvious and comes from the name itself, corn/maize. Certain vitamins and minerals are added additionally. Their website mentions them transitioning towards more responsibly sourced corn. Corn grits are cooked with lightly sweetened malt flavoring (made by extracting flavor components from barley and corn) and then partially dried. After which they are rolled out to become a flake ready for toasting. Usually the process of cooking the corn flakes takes about two hours and according to the website their process for making this hasn’t seen much of a change and this makes me question how sustainably their cornflakes are being made if the process hasn’t changed as much.
In the United States, almost all the wheat, corn and rice for their cereals come from the heartland of the country. They work with local growers and millers to support sustainable agriculture practices . The very first box W.K. Kellogg filled more than 100 years ago was made entirely of recycled material. Even today, almost all their cereal boxes are made from 100 percent recycled carton board, resulting in a smaller environmental impact.
In the past few years, they claim to have reduced water usage in their plants by 15% and are planning to implement water re use projects in at least 25% of their plants by 2020. I wish they had elaborated more on how they’re doing this because it’s easy to say certain things but backing it up with sufficient evidence makes a whole lot of difference.
Sometime in 1876, John Harvey Kellogg and W.K. Kellogg were working on improving vegetarian diet of some patients and this is where corn flakes were accidentally created and led to the eventual formation of the Kellogg Company.
They embraced a simple idea to maintain transparency and tell the consumer what’s inside the box, and they were one of the first companies to print nutrition labeling on their packaging. They seem to really care about responsible sourcing and mention engaging with farmers and partners on the ground regarding how ingredients are grown. They buy their grains primarily from suppliers, millers and cooperatives who typically buy from family-owned farms across the world. They are currently trying to increasing the number of farmers they support directly or through our their suppliers and partners on the ground. I honestly find it a little hard to believe these claims because a lot of companies talk about responsible sourcing and engaging with local communities ever since people have started giving prime importance to sustainability. I would have appreciated hearing specific stories or looking at some pictures of their factories and farmers they engage with.
They were honored six times since 2007 as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute, an independent research center that promotes best practices in corporate ethics and governance. This is a definitely an indicator that they’re progressing towards the better.
Kellogg’s as a company has multiple initiatives in place, some of which I personally found very interesting. a few of of their global initiatives are –
1) In San Jose, CA Eggo waffles are baked using fuel cell energy- a cleaner low carbon source of energy.
2) In Canada, their facility received the GE ‘Proof not Promises Award’ and saved $20,000 annually by reducing their usage of natural gas and boiler chemicals.
3) In Mexico, they use solar power to heat water in the manufacturing processes.