How MorningStar Farms Is Increasing Its Sustainability Efforts

morningstar farms breakfast

Morningstar farms breakfast

by | Apr 12, 2022

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MorningStar Farms is delivering more than just plant-based foods. It also shows positive environmental results — made possible because of its eco-friendly packaging and its use of renewable energy. The brand aims to provide consumers with food options that are tasty and socially aware.

What is the current problem you are now trying to solve?

“MorningStar Farms is on a mission to make food that is good for both people and the environment,” a spokesperson says. “With the latest advancements in its sustainability efforts, MorningStar Farms is looking to further reduce its impact on the environment with changes to its ingredients, packaging, and processes. While plant-based foods are better for the planet, MorningStar Farms isn’t stopping there. The brand is pushing boundaries further by taking direct action that will help lessen its environmental impact even further.”

How so? Among the many things it is doing is going to sustainable packaging. For starters, many consumers — especially younger ones — want to support businesses that are concerned about the environment. For example, by using such lightweight packaging and sustainable cardboard, companies can burnish their brands. 

Sustainable packaging has less of an environmental impact over time than unfriendly packaging. And it is considered positive if the packaging can be reused or recycled. According to a blog in Rubicon, three variables are at play: cost, sustainability, performance, and portability — the ability to be sorted and recycled. “It is a challenge for companies to align all four simultaneously, which is why progress is relatively slow in this area,” writes Meredith Leahy, Circular Economy Senior Manager. 

“Over the long term, companies are going to see the benefits of investing in sustainable packaging, both for themselves and for the planet,” she says. “In the near-term, however, it may take policy approaches, such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which holds companies accountable for making hard-to-recycle containers, to incentivize the production and use of more environmentally responsible packaging.” 

Besides using lightweight packaging and sustainable cardboards, she says certain inks used on labels won’t bleed and labels that can be easily removed. 

As for MorningStar, it plans to roll out new recycle-ready packaging for foods in flexible plastic bags later this year. That will allow consumers to recycle clean and dry bags at retailers participating in a store drop-off collection. Currently, some of its plastic trays and foods in paperboard boxes can be recycled at the curbside in some communities.

Furthermore, MorningStar Farms will source all of its energy needs through Virtual Power Purchase Agreements and Renewable Energy Credits.

The former is a long-term contract that allows the company to buy renewable energy at a guaranteed price. Such agreements also provide guaranteed markets to producers. Renewable energy credits are certificates that guarantee energy is produced from wind or solar power. While the electrons may not flow to a specific business, the certificates assure that clean power will be generated. 

MorningStar is also partnering with food innovation company Benson Hill to release products with an updated soy ingredient. Benson Hill’s CropOS technology platform combines data analytics and artificial intelligence with food science and plant biology to leverage plants’ vast, untapped natural genetic diversity to optimize nutrition, flavor profiles, and yield. 

“Their varieties of ultra-high protein soybeans deliver at least 20 percent more protein right out of the ground compared to commodity U.S. soybeans,” the spokesperson says. “Through the partnership, MorningStar Farms can incorporate Benson Hill soy ingredients that require as much as 70 percent less water and 50 percent less CO2e through the elimination of a traditional soy processing step.”

Are there obstacles to success?

The obstacles the company faces are merely the scope and the size of what needs to be done to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. It says those challenges are not the responsibility of a select few. Everyone must play a role to make a lasting impact. MorningStar Farms says that it is doing its part to help tackle this and contribute to making a difference. The brand will continue to look for ways to improve and innovate to do even more in the future.

“The sustainability initiatives we’re rolling out this year are invaluable to us,” the spokesperson concludes. “Our ultimate goal is to make food that’s good for consumers and the planet, not to recognize a payout. The above initiatives will be implemented over the course of this year.” 

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