PepsiCo, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, has today announced new plans to fund the LEAF membership and support the achievement of LEAF Marque certification of its 300+ UK-based Quaker Oats farmers over the next two years to encourage regenerative agriculture practices.
Quaker Oats are grown and milled in the UK in partnership with trusted farmers, 75% of whom are within a 100-mile radius of our Cupar Mill in Fife, Scotland.
LEAF Marque is an environmental assurance system run by global farming organisation LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), which requires farmers to take a rigorous approach to delivering more sustainable farming. Through the principles of Integrated Farm Management, crops grown at LEAF Marque-accredited farms support an improved environment for biodiversity, soil health, water and air quality, alongside the production of quality food such as oats.
As part of the partnership, PepsiCo and LEAF will provide Quaker farmers with additional tools and support as they work towards becoming LEAF Marque-certified. This will help them embrace a more circular agriculture, and put health and sustainability at the centre of their operations.
The investment builds on PepsiCo’s existing progress in supporting healthier and more sustainable oat harvests across the UK. The Oat Growth Guide, launched in 2019 as part of the Opti-Oat Crop Intelligence programme, used over one million data points to provide growers with information to help optimise resources and improve yield. This means more oats per hectare, and in turn more sustainable, high-quality oats for consumers.
Archana Jagannathan, senior director of sustainability, PepsiCo UK & Ireland, said: “Quaker Oats has been in the UK since 1899 and has become a popular household brand. We’re working to innovate and optimise the way our crops are grown to save water, reduce carbon emissions and improve soil health, among other benefits. The expansion of our partnership with LEAF is an important step towards helping us achieve our Positive Agriculture goals. It’s an expansion of our existing efforts to embrace and pioneer regenerative British oat growing with our Quaker farming partners, supporting them to produce the best quality oats while protecting the earth.”
Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), said: “This is a vital time for action and the delivery of more sustainable farming. Farmers are at the forefront of providing climate change solutions – reducing carbon emissions, building healthier and more resilient soils, delivering better air and water quality and enhancing biodiversity. With the forthcoming COP26 providing an important focus on tackling climate change, LEAF Marque growers play a key part in translating national and global ambitions into meaningful change on the ground.
“Supporting the farming industry towards achieving net zero and reducing its environmental impact requires vision, innovation and determination. Our partnership with Quaker UK and all their British oat growers signals an important advancement of our shared sustainability commitments. We are immensely proud to be working together towards better, smarter and more climate positive farming solutions, delivered through LEAF Marque.
“We hope the leadership that Quaker UK and others are taking will set a clear benchmark for others to follow.”
Matt Waldie is a fourth-generation farmer who manages Gilston Mains, a LEAF-accredited farm in Fife, Scotland, and has been growing Quaker oats for the past decade, close to Quaker’s Cupar mill.
He commented: “Growing Quaker Oats has always been a perfect match for our farm. The grain fits well into our crop rotation, and working with a local partner – only six miles away – means our crops barely have to travel before they are turned into the oats people enjoy every day.
“Becoming LEAF Marque-certified was a big moment for us as it recognised the hard work we’ve put into making our farming practices more sustainable. It’s fantastic that all Quaker Oats growers are now being given the funding and support to optimise their production, while also protecting the soil and natural environment for future generations.”
The move forms part of pep+, PepsiCo’s new strategy that puts sustainability at the heart of its business and includes a focus on changing the global food system for the better. pep+ includes several ambitious goals in agriculture, including spreading regenerative practices across land equal to the company’s entire agricultural footprint globally (approximately 7 million acres).
As the certification process progresses, the LEAF Marque logo will start to appear on packs of Quaker Oats from 2023 across the country, giving consumers confidence in the more sustainable way their oats have been grown.