Duda Farm Fresh Foods' Nichole Towell Highlights Sustainability Efforts
SALINAS, CA - I have a deep respect for the companies who go above and beyond to ensure they are supporting the Earth in their endeavors to supply the world with fresh produce. Duda Farm Fresh Foods is one of the trailblazers in this space, as the grower’s commitment to sustainability is evident in the building blocks the company stands upon. As the supplier continues to ramp up its efforts to support an eco-friendly supply chain, I tapped Nichole Towell, Senior Director of Marketing and Packaging Procurement, for some insight on its latest strategies.
“Sustainability has been a focus of Duda Farm Fresh Foods since its founding,” Nichole begins. “Andrew Duda chose celery as his original crop because the entire vegetable could be used, from the leaves all the way down to the stalk—in other words, a sustainable and 100 percent usable product. Fast forward 95 years, and this is still a huge part of the business.”
With its foundation rooted in sustainable production, Duda Farm Fresh Foods has assembled several “green teams” to support its sustainability initiatives, including its Growing Greener Generations Teams, sustainable packaging program, and farm sustainability assessment in partnership with Measure to Improve.
“As farmers, we’ve been practicing sustainability for many, many years through protection of the soil and water to be able to continue using the land. Now, it’s about figuring out ways to track progress we can report, which is why we’ve set five-year goals that we can look back on,” Nichole adds.
The company’s long-term sustainability strategy comprises several key components spearheaded by Duda’s Growing Greener Generations Teams, cross-functional groups that incorporate major stakeholders across the company. In 2019, the company began organizing efforts to reduce its use of packaging materials and launched a unique program to assess the overall sustainability of its current packaging.
New strategies were put in place to streamline systems across Duda’s operations; lower the total amount of packaging materials used; and increase the recyclability, reusability, or compostability of the remaining packaging materials, in addition to supporting its retail and foodservice partners in meeting their own sustainability goals.
Duda Farm Fresh Foods has also aligned with Measure to Improve to achieve silver-level FSA on Florida citrus. The objectives of this program include developing an understanding of the work being done at its Florida citrus operation, achieve silver compliance of the FSA and complete third-party verification, benchmark existing practices against the Sustainability Grown standard, and introduce other Duda Farm Fresh Foods growing operations to the program.
“Duda Farm Fresh Foods recognizes that sustainability is all about people, planet, and profit,” says Nichole. “These all have to work hand in hand to make sustainability successful. We first established these programs in 2019, and we look forward to continuing to make moves toward our goal to better serve our customers and consumers.”
To read more about Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ sustainability efforts, click here.
Curious to see what other innovative strategies the grower will put in place to boost the sustainability of its operations? Keep reading ANUK to find out.