Ready Pac Makes Sustainability a Priority

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There’s much discussion about sustainable farming, but what happens to sustainability once the produce leaves the farm? For national fresh foods producer Ready Pac Foods, Inc. the buck doesn’t stop on the farm.

Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salad Line

Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salad Line

“Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salads not only are delicious on-the-go meals with less than 300 calories, they also reclaim millions of drink bottles each year,” Tristan Simpson.

There’s much discussion about sustainable farming, but what happens to sustainability once the produce leaves the farm? For national fresh foods producer Ready Pac Foods, Inc. the buck doesn’t stop on the farm. The company has systematically reviewed and upgraded its products and business processes integrating delicious taste, convenience and sustainability criteria into all of its product lines.

“For decades, Ready Pac has participated in environmentally friendly business practices such as sending our byproducts for use as animal feed,” said Tristan Simpson, director of marketing at Ready Pac. “Our sustainability efforts now include a broad array of socially and environmentally responsible practices that ultimately also help us keep our convenient, fresh foods affordable.”

Ready Pac keeps food waste out of landfills through a variety of programs. In a home kitchen, consumers peel produce, cut out cores and trim away parts like outer leaves. Ready Pac does the same thing for its fresh-cut produce, yielding byproducts that could be costly to haul to landfills, not to mention take up precious space. Instead Ready Pac sells the fruit and vegetable byproducts to local dairy farmers. These byproducts help the farmers keep the cost of cattle feed down, which in turn help consumers and the local economy. Last year Ready Pac sold more than 110 million pounds of fruit and vegetable byproducts to local farmers.

Ready Pac’s recycling program converts costly trash hauling into an income stream that helps the company maintain competitive pricing. Ready Pac started by focusing on the reduction of trash being sent to landfills, setting up color-coded material collecting stations throughout all of their plants. Now the company collects and recycles more than 17 million pounds of cardboard and plastics annually, saving money and fuel by not hauling the trash and recouping some material costs in the recycling sales.

One of Ready Pac’s most impactful sustainability programs is a centralized production scheduling system. The company developed software that takes into account all logistic lead times by customer and distribution center. As a result, Ready Pac is able to consolidate production runs, reduce days of operation where needed and greatly reduce utility consumption. Decreases in water usage have been particularly significant.

Through this detailed planning, Ready Pac sells most of the products it makes to its retail and foodservice customers. With a careful eye to social responsibility, especially in the local communities where its plants are located, Ready Pac donates useable product that it cannot sell to local food banks and community charities. More than a half million bags and trays of produce were donated last year.

To further reduce the amount of waste it sent to landfills, and the fuel required to haul it there, Ready Pac installed trash compactors in all of its facilities. This resulted in a 50 to 75 percent reduction in waste loads.

Other Ready Pac sustainability programs include using natural gas co-generators to produce electricity, reduced energy usage through energy-efficient lighting, a transportation fleet equipped with the best particulate matter filters to reduce air pollution, and teleconferencing to reduce company travel. Ready Pac associates also contribute to the effort, participating in incentive programs to use public transportation, ride share, bicycle or walk to work.

The Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salads line is one of the company’s stars, both in terms of popularity and its environmentally responsible design and production. All of Ready Pac’s products use recycled materials in their cardboard boxes, and the salad bowls use 70 percent post-consumer PET. Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salad inserts use recycled 500ML drink bottles and the bowls also are made in a plant that operates using 50 percent solar energy.

“Ready Pac Bistro® Bowl Salads not only are delicious on-the-go meals with less than 300 calories, they also reclaim millions of drink bottles each year,” said Simpson.

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TRISTAN SIMPSON
Ready Pac
626-678-2055
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