“For the obvious reasons of ethics and efficiency, we have always been environmentally responsible in the management of our business. As growers, we know the importance of preserving and protecting our resources for future generations. As we have expanded our food production facilities over the past 30 years, we have applied sustainability practices throughout our farm to fork supply chain journey which has translated into numerous recycling, waste reduction and energy efficiency initiatives.
Now, as committed members of Origin Green, we welcome the opportunity to implement these sustainability principles in an even more regulated, systematic way that might provide further benefit for our business and for the environment. The fact that Meade Potato Co will receive recognition and the right to market our sustainability through the Origin Green certification programme is an added benefit.”
Eleanor Meade, Business Operations Manager
- 50% of the company’s energy needs to be provided through clean renewable wind energy on site.
- 30% reduction in use of well water by the end of 2015.
- 5% reduction in energy used per kg produced by 2016.
Philip Meade Sr. began selling Queen potatoes in Meath and Louth in 1977 and by 1982, the business was officially incorporated into Meade Potato Company at the family’s home farm in Lobinstown, Co. Meath. While they initially specialized in potatoes, they diversified and now grow, pack and distribute a full range of fresh produce.
Who we are
For over 30 years the Meade family have been growing and supplying premium quality potatoes and other fresh produce to retailers nationwide from their family farm. Meade’s commitment to growing and sourcing only the best quality produce, as well as their efficiency in delivering produce from farm to fork, has resulted in their rise to become one of Ireland’s leading growers, packers and distributors of fresh produce to the retail sector.
Currently employing some 240 staff directly and over 300 indirectly, Meade Potato Company offer over 100 different lines of premium quality potatoes, fruit, vegetables, salads and organic produce. With the next generation of the Meade family now running the business, the company’s growth led to further expansion into a new office building and state-of-the-art food production facility in 2012.
The company, as part of its commitment to innovation and to the Irish potato industry, recently introduced the only home grown frozen chip to Irish consumers, Meade Irish Rooster Chips.
Our sustainability credentials
The Meade Potato Company has always sought to be environmentally responsible but began to formally implement sustainability measures in 2011. It holds an ‘A’ audit rate in all BRC audits as well as a 100% pass rate on Bord Bia quality and food safety certification levels.
Sourcing locally where possible has always been a priority of the company, which they believe is sustaining the economy and the environment by using Irish produce with a low carbon footprint.
The company employs sound agricultural practice on its own farmland and that of its growers to keep crop interventions at a minimum. It also recycles as extensively as possible; and works with growers and retailers to encourage environmental responsibility.
Origin Green in action
The Meade Potato Company has established short, medium and long-term targets, which will be achieved over the period 2013-2016. The initial focus is on plant production sustainability, eventually extending to targets for the farm.
- A range of energy initiatives will see operational improvements that reduce energy by 5% per kg of product produced by 2016. Two new energy efficient potato production lines will contribute to this.
- In addition to its initial stretch target for 2015 of installing a 300KW wind turbine, the company intends to have heat exchangers plumbed by 2016, to fully utilize all recovered heat.
- The site has a daily water requirement of 25 cubic metres, currently fulfilled by two groundwater wells. With increased use of rainwater harvesting, the goal is to reduce well consumption by 30% by the end of 2015.
- In the area of waste, the Meade Potato Company’s main objective is to establish an accurate baseline of packaging waste/kg product produced and reduce it by 5%. While recognising that control over end-product packaging rests solely with the retailer, the company will seek to introduce more sustainable packaging to growers and retailers for use in the end product.
- They aim to have 100% of suppliers either sourced locally with accreditation, or to have 100% of suppliers possessing recognised certifications by the end of 2015.
While rationalising transport routes is not a formal target, routine monitoring of food miles monthly will be undertaken as part of their Origin Green plan.
Meade Potato Company has become a leader in waste prevention, participating in ‘Feed the 5000’ and foodcloud (foodcloud.ie to raise awareness. Its work with community food banks such as Crosscare (http://www.crosscare.ie/) has been featured on numerous RTE (the national public service broadcaster of Ireland) programmes. They are also committed to encouraging healthy eating, especially in young people.
As part of Origin Green, the company aims to:
- Continue to promote waste prevention through special projects and social media.
- Increase the value of sponsorship over a five-year period to support sporting activities and young people by 10%.
- Continue the National Potato Day 5K Road Race and Fun Run, which encourages a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise.
- Develop Student Summer Internship Programme over a five-year period.
What we’re doing better
Already members of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance and IOFGA, the Meade Potato Company employs various other sustainable farming methods in its beef and arable operations. The company will undertake a full audit of its home farm growing operations in 2015, specifically looking at inputs, with a view to implementing Integrated Pest Management and setting formal targets to be achieved in 2016.
The company is also investing in approximately 3,000 metres of tree and hedgerow planting around its farm and factory premises.