Two Farmers - Pioneers in sustainable crisps

07 March 2024, 15:00 PM
  • Two Farmers leads the way in sustainable snacking, having spent four years developing fully home compostable, biodegradable packaging
Two Farmers - Pioneers in sustainable crisps

Sustainability runs right through the core of Two Farmers – whose crisps are made with the brand’s own potatoes (grown two miles from the factory) using green energy, before being sealed in fully compostable packaging.

Founders Sean Mason and Mark Green have a great deal of pride when it comes to their environmental mission, which began before they even sliced and fried their first spuds.

A key USP for Two Farmers is the brand’s crisp packet, with around four years dedicated to developing a non-plastic option that would keep the products in top condition. Fully recyclable sharing tins (a nice vehicle for homemade bakes after they’ve been used) are also part of the packaging family.

Sean and Mark were adamant they needed to come up with something better than plastic, having spent a serious amount of time managing waste that blew onto the farm from car windows. “That plastic will obviously never break down. We wanted to try and do something to change this,” says Sean. The pair were also mindful of consumers being ever more conscious of their use of plastics.

The process, Sean admits, moved very slowly, and costs were spiralling out of control a year before they launched.

“We never stopped to think they could be too expensive. But then Blue Planet came out about eight months before we launched, and the world perception of what we needed to do changed overnight. We said ‘OK, we’ve got to get this to market now’. We almost had an obligation to do it - although the costs were incredibly high.”

The Two Farmers range consists of Herefordshire-inspired flavours, from Salt & Cider Vinegar (made with their own vinegar), to Hereford Sausage & Mustard, using local rare breed pork.

As far as they are aware, they’re the first crisps in compostable packaging, made from 100% sustainable cellulose from wood pulp, printed with biodegradable ink, and sealed with biodegradable glue. The packets, unlike other touted eco plastics which will only decompose in a commercial composter, take “between 25 and 30 weeks to break down, depending on the environment they’re in. And the same if they go into the water and into the sea. They’ll break down into biomass, water and C02.”

On the farm Sean and Mark are working towards being carbon neutral in the right way. The most transparent way. This includes generating their own renewable energy on site using solar panels, using high-spec technology to increase efficiency, and green cropping to enrich soil.

“We don’t want to offset anything,” says Sean. “We think offsetting carbon is hiding behind what you’re doing yourselves. We are green cropping and planting trees, and we hope to offset our footprint by the end of this year.”

Greenwashing is something Sean thinks it’s one of the biggest issues in the sustainability arena. “We feel an awful lot of greenwashing is going on at the moment, and people are hiding behind statements. We found this from day one. We thought some of that might change, but even in the very recent past we have tendered with companies making huge sustainability comments, but didn’t get shortlisted because of cost. 

“The government needs to crack down on these companies that are making big sustainability claims but not doing very much really – just ticking boxes!”

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