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Ahold Delhaize USA Taking Part in Farm-to-Shelf Regenerative Agriculture Pilot

Grocer partners with Kellanova, Bartlett to lower emissions across value chain
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The wheat from farms taking part in a regenerative agriculture pilot will be used in combination with conventionally grown wheat to manufacture Kellanova’s Cheez-It crackers, which will be sold at Ahold Delhaize USA banners in 2025.

Grocery retail group Ahold Delhaize USA has teamed with global snacking company Kellanova and North American agribusiness Bartlett to reduce scope 3 greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions from wheat farming across the value chain. The collaboration aims to lower scope 3 emissions, thereby improving farm and supply chain resiliency. 

Scheduled to kick off this summer, the pilot program will use financial investments from Ahold Delhaize USA, Kellanova and Bartlett to support the implementation of regenerative agricultural practices among North Carolina wheat farmers. The wheat harvested and milled from these farms will be used in combination with conventionally grown wheat to manufacture Kellanova’s Cheez-It and Club crackers, which will be sold at Ahold Delhaize USA banners in 2025.

[RELATED: Ahold Delhaize Introduces Growing Together Strategy]

“The companies of Ahold Delhaize USA are committed to offering more sustainable food products as we strive to create a healthier planet,” noted Ahold Delhaize USA CEO JJ Fleeman. “An important step in this journey is reducing scope 3 carbon emissions, which requires partnerships like this one with Kellanova and Bartlett. We’re excited to be a part of this collaboration as we focus on our Scope 3 commitments.”

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The unique program – a first of its kind for Ahold Delhaize USA and Kellanova – involves the collaboration of stakeholders from across the supply chain – from field to mill to manufacturing facility to shelf – to boost the livelihood of U.S. farmers while reducing GHG emissions. 

“As part of our ambitious Kellanova Better Days Promise, we’ve committed to both reducing our emissions and advancing the well-being of people, including farmers, across our food value chain,” said Carrie Sander, chief customer officer – North America at Chicago-based Kellanova. “We believe in the power of partnership and are excited to collaborate with Ahold Delhaize USA and Bartlett to help potentially improve outcomes for wheat farmers. This innovative program helps us simultaneously work toward both these goals.”

The program will entail the following:

  • Bartlett’s certified crop advisors will work with farmers in eastern North Carolina, providing technical assistance in the adoption of conservation practices to improve soil health, which enhances water quality and helps lower emissions.

  • Bartlett will blend the regenerative wheat with conventional wheat and then mill it into flour at its recently expanded facility in Wilson’s Mills, N.C.

  • Kellanova will use the wheat to manufacture Cheez-It and Club crackers at its facility in Cary, N.C.

  • Ahold Delhaize USA brands will sell the crackers at their more than 2,000 local stores, beginning in 2025.

“We’re excited to work with our customers and partners to improve on-farm environmental outcomes, while increasing overall sustainability across the milling and baking supply chain,” said Bob Knief, president of Kansas City, Mo.-based Bartlett, a Savage Company. “We have a strong commitment to continuous improvement and look forward to engaging with and supporting North Carolina wheat farmers in measuring and optimizing their sustainability performance.”

Along with the regenerative wheat, a key output of this program will be agronomic insights on farm and supply chain resiliency. Houston-based Arva Intelligence will use its CropForce platform to measure, report and verify effects on the partners’ respective emissions reductions, providing scalable knowledge that each company can use to develop other Scope 3 initiatives. 

“Ninety-five percent of Ahold Delhaize USA emissions reside in scope 3, which makes this program incredibly important,” observed Marc Stolzman, Ahold Delhaize USA’s recently appointed chief sustainability officer. “Not only will this help us on our race to Net Zero, but the data will help us to chart our future path for scope 3 collaborations.” 

The pilot will involve farmers who have already rolled out regenerative agricultural practices, enabling the cultivation of a base of farmers well acquainted with these practices to help teach new ones and ease the transition.

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2024 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Its local brands are Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers

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