Princes partners new Mauritian bio plant venture


Biogas project to reduce CO2 emissions of Princes Tuna Mauritius operations by over 8,000 tonnes per year

International food and drink group Princes is partnering with a new bio plant venture, which is set to reduce CO2emissions from its Mauritian tuna processing sites by 8,650 tonnes per year. This represents 80% of the current operational emissions for Princes Tuna Mauritius (PTM) largest manufacturing site.

The collaborative project sees Princes entering into long term agreement with Energie des Mascareignes (EDM) – a joint waste-to-value venture between UK based Green Create and IBL Energy – which will convert all semi-solid waste from PTM sites, alongside effluent water, into biogas via anaerobic digestion.

At PTM’s Riche Terre site, the biogas will power 100% of the facility’s steam cooking requirements, replacing heavy fuel oil, and any fish waste currently sent to landfill will be eliminated. Work on the new bio plant has started and completion is expected in late 2022.

With two dedicated production sites, including Marine Road and Riche Terre, PTM is the largest tuna business in the Indian Ocean, and has over 40 years of experience in tuna processing for Princes and customer own brand ranges, as well as foodservice and industrial customers.

Neil Bohannon, Group Director for Fish at Princes, said: “This project is an incredibly positive step, which will reduce our reliance on heavy fuel oil, significantly reducing emissions from our Mauritian site operations and cutting waste through the use of renewable, clean energy. We have been repurposing solid waste for decades into fishmeal and oil, and now this agreement with EDM will close the loop on our semi-solid and liquid waste. This is part of a number of changes being implemented across Princes sites to reduce our environmental impact as we work towards carbon neutral operations by 2030.”

A further by-product created through the removal of nitrogen and phosphates in the waste effluent water from both PTM sites will be extracted for use as a biological fertiliser. Additionally, chemicals such as flocculants, precipitants and coagulants, as well as cleaning chemicals used in the current waste treatment system, will be eradicated through the project, which amounts to approximately 80 tonnes a year.

Solid fish waste at PTM, including tuna heads offal, skin and bones are already diverted to a nearby plant of Marine Biotechnology Products (MBP) – a subsidiary of IBL – for fishmeal and oil creation.

The PTM biogas project will support Princes’ 2030GreenGoals initiative, announced in July, which outlines the Group’s commitment to become a carbon neutral business across its UK and international operations by 2030, against a 2018/2019 baseline. This ambition builds on important progress made since 2014/2015 to reduce the Group’s carbon emissions, which represents a 23% decrease of over 34,000 tonnes of CO2.

By 2030, Princes also aims to increase internal energy generation up to 50%, while reducing water waste by 25%, general waste by 30% and food waste by 50%.


Princes expands partnership with Coldiretti to strengthen ‘100% Made in Italy’ tomato supply chain sustainability


International food and drink group, Princes, has expanded a partnership established with Italian agricultural association, Coldiretti, to enhance the sustainability of its Napolina brand “100% Made in Italy” tomatoes.

Through the agreement with Coldiretti, which includes Oxfam Italy in an advisory capacity on human rights, a new framework has been developed to enhance the ethical, environmental and economic value of the Italian tomato supply chain. This framework will help support Coldiretti’s ongoing efforts to tackle Italian food fraud – a market worth more than €100 billion, more than twice the value of Italian food exports to the entire world.

The agreement involves a commitment from the Group’s Italian tomato processing facility, Princes Industrie Alimentari (PIA) – the home of Napolina tomatoes – to sign guaranteed three-year supply contracts to enhance financial stability for Coldiretti growers, and work with the University of Foggia to ensure that the pricing of tomatoes reflects the true costs of growing and harvesting to enable the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Through the partnership, Napolina and Coldiretti also want to drive innovation across the tomato supply chain through the implementation of agriculture 4.0 technologies, which will enhance environmental standards across the industry. This includes satellite surveys to monitor the development of crops and to tackle the impact of climate change, as well as precision control equipment to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides, and non-biodegradable plastics, as well as waste and water management projects. Training will also be provided for farmers and technicians of partner farming cooperatives.

Andy Hargraves, Group Director for Italian Products, said: “Our 2019 initial partnership with Coldiretti was groundbreaking in itself but we have moved on further. The shared commitment with Coldiretti and our suppliers to maintain high environmental standards, reinforce ethical working practices and promote fair economic conditions is a significant step forward in protecting the future of the Italian tomato supply chain. There is no Italian tomato product on British shelves that has anything like the level of supply chain assurance behind Napolina.”

Napolina and PIA have taken various steps to enhance social sustainability across the tomato supply chain, investing in the protection of human rights to support the fight against exploitation practices, such as the ‘Caporale (gang-master) system. With the additional guidance of Oxfam Italy, the agreement will strengthen transparency, allowing Napolina to ensure a 100% ethical product, whilst also empowering agricultural cooperatives through monitoring processes, and fieldworker training on agronomic practices, regulatory compliance, good labour relations practices, as well as technology and safety support.

The agreement was officially signed this week at a ceremony in Rome, attended by the British Embassy.

Jill Morris, UK Ambassador, said: Congratulations to Napolina and Princes for the renewal of their agreement with Coldiretti. The continuity of this agreement testifies the close and efficient collaboration between the UK and Italy in the agricultural sector and, more specifically, in the Italian tomato supply chain. This agreement honours both parties since it not only aims to promote the sector but guarantees fair working conditions and the respect of human rights in conformance with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal agenda.”

By renewing their agreement of 2019, PIA and Coldiretti remain committed to further enhancing the quality and reputation of Italian tomatoes and restoring competitiveness to a strategic sector for the recovery of the country. Italy represents 15% of global tomato production for a sector that is worth over €3.7 billion in turnover. Puglia alone contributes around 30% to the entire volume of Italian tomatoes and approximately 60% to volumes grown in Southern Italy.

At its Foggia plant – the largest industrial site in Europe – PIA processes around 200,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes from the Apulian district annually and is supplied exclusively by producers who must hold Global G.A.P. GRASP or SA8000 certifications. In addition, all PIA’s tomato growers must be enrolled on the ‘Rete De Lavoro’, a Ministry of Labour public register of businesses fully compliant with labour and human rights legislation and transparent payment of wages.



Princes embraces rapidly emerging trends with unique retailer ‘Co-Labs’ innovation platform


International food and drink group Princes is expanding its market-leading innovation strategy with a new co-creation initiative for retailers.

Co-Labs will help retailers embrace emergent trends, utilise cutting edge technology

and leverage insight to identify products that will prove commercially successful.

Alan Eriksen, marketing director at Princes Group, said: “The last 18 months has seen the biggest shift in global, social and consumer trends in decades. And it doesn’t stop changing. We have absolute belief that our now 3,000-strong consumer community and our truly unique take on food and drink innovation is the blueprint for how retailers can keep pace.

“Co-Labs will see us partner with retailers to leverage our unique community to provide real-time insights into the categories that matter to them most, helping to create and refine future-fit innovation that meets their changing consumer needs head-on. Our Trend Book identifies what each trend means for innovation and the benefits to the consumer. It’s a powerful combination of market knowledge and consumer insight retailers will find invaluable.”

Princes’ innovation arm, Innov8, was set up by the Liverpool-based company in 2019, creating a dedicated team that focuses on developing industry-leading products and overcoming some of the biggest sector-wide issues.

The innovation team has launched a number of ground-breaking products since its inception, including U:ME Spice Shots, Princes Fruit Pots, Princes Plant-Based Ready Meals and the Plot 9 Plant-Based Range – all made it to the final of The Grocer New Product Awards.

Innov8 is a unique partnership between Princes Group and KICR – a young innovation consultancy formed in 2018 to address the two key challenges that many food and drink operations face – innovation agility and embedding the consumer viewpoint as part of the innovation process. This has, Princes says, been the foundation of its recent successes. The Innov8 team spans packaging, brand, category, culinary and product innovation for brands and customer own label products.

The 3,000-strong consumer community, which has grown from a panel of 800 in 2019, will be used as part of the Co-Labs platform to provide product feedback, co-create concepts, deliver essential category understanding and trial products. These insights can be drilled down to views on specific retailers and branded and own label ranges, fuelling ground-breaking co-creation projects.

Princes’ Innovation Kitchen at its Royal Liver Building headquarters, part of the initial £5m investment made by the Group in innovation in 2019, is a state-of-the-art facility with a prep area, showcase space and interactive ideation and breakout area, which will be used for the Co-Labs initiative to host live product testing and demonstrations, as well as interactive workshops.

The Trend Book packages trend knowledge from multiple reputable data sources, bringing these to life for valuable use. The short, medium and long-term mega and macro trends identified will ensure retailers can keep their finger on the pulse of the changing landscape and its impacts on consumer behaviour, alongside Princes. Then, by deep diving into the micro trends, the Co-Labs will be able to explore the hot opportunity areas for future growth whilst keeping the thinking firmly planted in consumer needs. Granular detail is provided on each trend, including evidential data and product examples to make the book as user friendly and useful as possible. In addition, there’s the ‘so what’ which provides suggestions as to how this trend might be used when creating strategy or driving food knowledge into businesses.

Princes Group’s Trend Book is available on its website


Co-op ‘Treating People Fairly’ Sustainability Award


We’re celebrating receiving a Co-op ‘Treating People Fairly’ Sustainability Award that recognises Princes’ pioneering approach to supply chain transparency. The judging panel was made up of sustainability experts whose comments were shown during the awards ceremony:


Sustainable packaging progress to cut Princes CO2 emissions by 1,100 tonnes


Ongoing projects will remove 900 tonnes of plastic from product packaging

Packaging projects at Princes, and its range of brands, are set to reduce carbon emissions by 1,100 tonnes and remove 900 tonnes of plastic (the equivalent of over 26 million plastic bottles[1]) from product packaging across the Group, annually.

These projects include weight reductions across edible oils and soft drinks bottles for customer own brands. Princes’ popular Jucee brand is also switching to 100% recycled plastic bottles for its fruit squash range, while Napolina has moved its core pasta range from plastic into cardboard.

These and other plastic reduction initiatives have led to almost 2,000 tonnes of plastic being removed from 2018 to 2020, representing a 6% decrease across the Group.

David McDiarmid, Corporate Relations Director at Princes, said: “Princes has made significant progress in advancing packaging sustainability in recent years, with a firm focus on reducing plastic, increasing our use of recycled materials and ensuring packaging is widely recyclable. These latest changes are more solid steps in the right direction, but this work won’t stop there.

“We recognise that far too much plastic packaging is thrown away and that more effort needs to be made across all industries to reduce, reuse, recycle and embed the principles of a truly circular economy. It’s great to see our brands taking very public steps in this space, but also the important day-to-day progress being made behind the scenes. A 700-tonne plastic reduction, for example, has been achieved in oils and drinks bottles used in retailer own brand products. This is a huge reduction and a great testament to the hard work of our packaging team and site colleagues.”

Last year, the company revealed an ambition to switch all of its branded tuna multipacks to cardboard sleeve packaging as part of a major initiative, which has removed 96 tonnes of plastic annually, as well the removal of non-recyclable Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) from its products.

Princes now reports that the average recycled content of plastic across its UK manufacturing base is 45%. In addition, 99% of the plastic in its UK manufactured products is classified as widely recyclable. Princes also no longer owns any bottled water business having sold its last remaining water site and the Aqua Pura brand in 2020.

Continued progress to reduce waste and reuse materials is key to Princes’ 2030GreenGoals initiative, which outlines the Group’s commitment to cut general waste by 30% and become a carbon neutral business across its UK and international operations by 2030. This ambition

builds on important progress made since 2014/2015 to reduce the Group’s carbon emissions, which represents a 23% decrease of over 34,000 tonnes of CO2.

[1] 26.4 million empty, 1 litre drinks or oils bottles – Princes


Princes Group reaches 50% yellowfin cut goal a year ahead of deadline as pandemic impacts sourcing


The international food and drink group said challenges remain in maintaining the cut, equivalent to 70m cans a year, into 2022 and beyond

Princes Group has announced it has reached its ambitious goal of reducing Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna sourcing by 50% on 2017 levels, a year ahead of its 2022 deadline.

Princes committed to the cut to make clear to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), its member states, fisheries and vessels, that action and leadership is required in order to protect the long-term sustainability of yellowfin tuna stocks.

The Global Tuna Alliance, of which Princes is an active member, had also been mounting pressure on the IOTC to urgently adopt a recovery plan for Indian Ocean yellowfin. In June this year, IOTC members finally agreed an interim rebuilding plan, but this still fell short of recommendations needed to rebuild the stocks within two generations.

Princes is now forecasting its 2021 sourcing will be approximately 16,141 metric tonnes of yellowfin, approximately 70m cans of tuna, a 51% reduction on its 2017 base figure of 32,768 metric tonnes.

However, the business admits it faces an uphill battle to maintain the 50% reduction into 2022, as the pandemic created an unusual set of circumstances that helped it to achieve its goal a year ahead of its target.

Neil Bohannon, Group Director for Fish at Princes, said: “As we all know, 2021 has been a unique year, and that has impacted our tuna sourcing in different ways. We faced periods of closures and reduced production at our Mauritian canning sites, and whilst we maintained our supply of products, our sourcing did reduce somewhat. We need to flex our tuna sourcing as part of our multi-ocean strategy to ensure we can maintain the 50% Indian Ocean yellowfin reduction next year.

Putting sustainability first is always a huge challenge – it takes commitment, action and a huge amount of hard work. We are not going to shy away from these challenges, and we would call on all our industry partners to have the same mindset. The IOTC’s rebuilding plan is a good first step, but the future sustainability of yellowfin tuna will remain at risk if a more robust rebuilding plan is not adopted.

We have 4,000 colleagues across our two manufacturing sites in Mauritius, with a wider economic footprint across the local supply chain so a great many jobs are reliant on us. Sustaining the seafood economy is reliant on long-term sustainable tuna and the IOTC needs to show leadership and take firm action. We will always play our part, but we are only one player is a much wider industry and everyone has to step up.”

Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) Dr Tom Pickerell said: This is a very important announcement by Princes. Long-term action is urgently needed on the overfished yellowfin stock, and it is great to see an individual company making such significant strides in exercising their commercial leverage to drive change. What is crucial now is that the IOTC supports these efforts with a formalised and scientifically sound rebuilding plan – this is what the Global Tuna Alliance has been asking of all IOTC delegates. If properly managed there will be enough tuna for everyone – it’s not rocket science; a scientifically-led cut in catches now will rebuild the stock”.

At the IOTC’s 25th Commission session in June, the GTA called upon members to limit catch to 341,000mt, which the IOTC’s own Scientific Committee said would allow yellowfin stocks to begin to rebuild.

Yet – several months later – five IOTC member states have now objected to the plan, forcing the sustainability of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna back into the danger zone, and compromising the efforts made by the majority of nations willing to follow scientific advice.

The interim rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna that was agreed at the IOTC meeting in June will come into effect on 1 January, 2022. However, objecting member states will not have to implement the conservation measure, and will instead be bound by their previous catch limits – the GTA calculates that they could increase the total 2022 catch by over 50,000mt if their 2022 catches equal their 2019 catches – far exceeding the scientific advice.

Princes has previously stated it is committed to only processing responsibly sourced tuna. Princes defines responsibly sourced as fisheries that are either already certified according to the standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or are involved in a time-bound Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) that is working towards achieving standards required for MSC certification. Fully traceable pole and line fisheries and catches made that are Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) free are also included.

Princes was also a founding partner of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation in 2009, and plays an active leadership role in challenging and promoting the organisation’s work and standards towards the long-term conservation and sustainable use of global tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting tuna ecosystem health.

Princes’ two tuna processing sites in Mauritius are MSC Chain Of Custody certified and both hold SA8000 certification for social accountability.