Willicroft: Measuring our impact
When we first started concocting our ideas and recipes, we knew we wanted to create a delicious, social, healthy food option for our hungry customers.
But we’ve got big dreams, and our cheese is how we’ve chosen to make a difference.
As you’ll see in our Impact Intentions Report, our focus areas this year extend beyond simply minimising the carbon footprint of our cheese. Of course, we are analysing the environmental impact of our cheeses, but we’re also looking at the people and systems that sit around them. This is because we think our impact can and should be about more than just emissions.
While we know most of our ingredients contribute less harm to the environment than animal-based products, we want to ensure we’re doing all we can to reduce our footprint throughout our supply chain. We’ve started the process of converting our recipes from being predominantly cashew-based to bean-based. Legumes are not only d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. and creamy but are one of the few plants able to convert nitrogen from the air into ammonia which supplements the soil rather than just taking nutrients away from it. Our feta is made with white beans, and our cream cheeses are made using tofu. YUM.
Long-term, we are working with our suppliers to source regeneratively-grown ingredients, which means our products are giving back to Mother Earth from the very start of their journey to your plate.
We know our products can be part of a broader story about the food chain, and we’re hoping to engage with other ideas in the sustainable food system space by creating products that are completely organic, and one which is supplied entirely from Dutch farmers. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for a more detailed overview of where we source our core ingredients from.
We’ve been on a long journey with our packaging, continuously making choices around sustainable materials, shelf-life, pricing and supplier.
At the moment, the majority of our products are packaged in bio-based PE plastic, which ensures the longevity of our products while they’re on the shelf and scooting across the countryside to your doors, reducing food waste (which is a big win from our perspective).
We are currently conducting research into using tin as a basis for our packaging, but want to ensure that the life-cycle of tin packaging is less harmful than that which we currently use – we’re not making any assumptions!
Farmers are at the heart of Willicroft, with the company’s origins in dairy farming under the management of our founder’s grandfather, who sought to bring values of respect and community to his work when he first established Willicroft Farm.
Willicroft in its reimagined form may strive for a different end-product, but our commitment to looking after those who supply us with quality ingredients is unwavering.
This year, we set out on a mission to engage with sector leaders, government departments, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and farmers to start the process of converting land currently used by dairy cows into bean fields. The project will pilot in 2021, with Willicroft as a buyer from the newly transitioned farmers. Our goal for this project is to see farmers have their economic needs met while moving to a more sustainable form of farming, and use this model to set the direction for policymaking in the Netherlands and beyond.