Non-Financial Report 2022: Responsible sourcing for a responsible product
Our customers trust us to deliver a product that they can enjoy and that meets the highest quality standards. That is why food safety and quality as well as the origin and production conditions of our ingredients are extremely important for HelloFresh.
Responsible sourcing means sourcing locally
Where possible, we favor locally grown ingredients and in-season produce as this minimizes unnecessary food miles and supports local agriculture and food production. In France for example, we have established an initiative to stop using out-of-season vegetables. The project which started as a pilot in 2021, has become a regular initiative that applies each winter season. Vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants, and cucumbers are no longer used in HelloFresh meal kits in France during the winter, which helps reduce the number of imported ingredients.
We also work closely with our vendors to identify opportunities to reduce food waste upstream. For example, in the US we source items such as potatoes with non-traditional specifications (shape and size) that would not typically be used for retail sale, or bell peppers with flexible color specifications compared to more rigid requirements for retailers.
Choosing the best suppliers to ensure food safety
While we constantly raise and codify our own operating standards, we also want to make sure that our high standards are met by our suppliers. We want to uphold the promise that our customers receive only the best products from the best suppliers. That’s why we look to source high quality fresh produce from suppliers that focus on sustainable production and comply with either Global G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) - an industry leading standard demonstrating the suppliers commitment to advancing good agricultural practices - or market equivalent, or the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). These trusted and established schemes and certifications ensure the quality of our ingredients.
95.5% of the fresh produce we purchased came from suppliers that are Global G.A.P. or equivalent compliant, or GFSI-certified.
In 2022, 95.5% of the fresh produce we purchased came from suppliers that are Global G.A.P. or equivalent compliant, or GFSI-certified and we are in the process of moving all remaining vegetable and fruit suppliers to be compliant as well. Additionally, 95% of total fish and seafood (by weight) purchased across markets in 2022 was certified by a recognized scheme (Global G.A.P, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) for aquaculture species and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for wild-caught species). We also made improvements to our BAP requirements, resulting in 99.9% of BAP certified products having 2* or above with a process in place to move to 100% by the end of 2023. In the US we follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ratings to source seafood ranked as Best Choice, Good Alternative, or certified to standards recognized by Seafood Watch.
Our regular supplier visit program, audits and a team of dedicated FSQA (Food Safety & Quality Assurance) staff are in charge of ensuring certification compliance. We also regularly monitor supplier performance during intake checks in our own facilities.
95% of total fish and seafood (by weight) purchased across markets in 2022 was certified by a recognized scheme.
We care about animal welfare
Another important element of our Product, Quality & Sustainability strategy is transparency about animal welfare. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about the living conditions of the animals involved in our products and we are committed to ensuring that they meet high animal welfare standards. For that reason we participate in multiple product seal schemes, e.g. Beter Leven in the Netherlands and Initiative Tierwohl in Germany. These product seals guarantee higher living standards than they are common, according to international standards or national conventional livestock farming.
In the last years we have put a special focus on broiler chicken welfare, by joining the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) and European Chicken Commitment (ECC) in all of our markets. Additionally, in 2022, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of our entire broiler supply chain mapped against the BCC - click here to learn more.
We are closely monitoring chicken welfare in all of our markets.
Ethical Trading and Fair Labor
It’s a high priority for HelloFresh that companies we partner with adhere to responsible business practices, such as ethical business and fair labor practices.
To promote responsible business practices across our supply chain and to ensure that all workers and human rights are upheld, our Ethical Trading Policy sets clear minimum requirements for doing business with any company of the HelloFresh Group. The policy defines ethical trading standards based on the International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. That means we do not tolerate violations of human and labor rights such as modern slavery, child labour, discrimination andharassment or inhumane treatment and excessive working hours at our suppliers. We naturally hold ourselves accountable to the same requirements that we apply to our suppliers.
HelloFresh’s management has been closely involved in the development of the ethical trading program over the past years, including the 2022 revision of our Ethical Trading Policy. Environmental protection and fair business practices, such as fair competition, anti-corruption and data protection are now included in our policy. We have further clarified our expectations regarding our business partners' management systems to prevent and mitigate violations of our Ethical Trading Policy within their own operations and supply chain. We are now rolling it out to suppliers to sign the revised policy, and for the future we plan to disclose our progress in that regard.
We use SEDEX as our main provider of ethical assurance for companies within our supply chain. SEDEX is an online assessment tool which allows companies to submit, review and risk assess data on ethical and responsible business practices. We already have most UK suppliers onboarded into SEDEX and are in the process of rolling this out in other markets.
We also conducted a group-wide risk assessment to identify potential risks for human, labor and environmental protection rights associated with our own operations and those of our direct suppliers.