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Awards success for sustainable Muntons


Award-winning Muntons is leading the way in sustainable flour production.


The company won the prestigious Sustainability category at last month’s Baking Industry Awards for developing an energy-saving bio-energy plant at its Stowmarket mill.


The success came hot on the heels of winning the Environmental Leadership Award for the same project at the Food & Drink Federation Awards in September.


Since then the mill has been fielding inquiries from other companies keen to follow in their carbon-free footsteps.


Dr Nigel Davies, director of technical and sustainability at Muntons, said: “We initially installed a biomass plant at our Bridlington mill in 2019, which immediately cut our emissions by 22 per cent.


“Stowmarket presented more complex problems because it has a malt extract plant on site, so we need energy to generate steam as well as heat. By building the biomass heating system we’ve reduced our environmental footprint by a factor of three.


“As well as cutting emissions it was about de-risking the business, because it had got to the point where we couldn’t take any more natural gas on site. Now the gas can be used for other capital projects.”

A decade ago Muntons were one of the first mills to install an energy efficient kiln heating system at Stowmarket. The latest project is part of the company’s strategic pledge to be carbon zero by 2050, and this, along with the existing system at Bridlingon, has already taken it over 60 per cent of the way towards that goal.


The Stowmarket build required close liaison with planning authorities, environmental regulators, railways operators and plant design and construction teams from the UK. The company also had to maintain absolute food security to allow the site to remain operational.


The judges at the Baking Industry Awards were impressed with how Muntons had galvanised its staff to work together to achieve their objectives and commended the company for focusing on achievements and gains rather than merely the investment required.


“The speed, determination and commitment in getting the plant operational in the face of multiple obstacles was very impressive,” the panel said.


The Stowmarket plant has been running since June, despite difficulties presented by Covid during its installation.


“We had a special arrangement with our contractors to ensure they were kept separate from staff and went through daily testing,” said Nigel.


“When it was first mooted a lot of people thought it wouldn’t work, but now they’ve seen the results we’ve had a lot of inquiries. The Bunnahabhain Distillery in Scotland has installed an identical system and I’m looking forward to going up to see it – especially as they produce my favourite whisky!”

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