Mondelēz races to reach goal with expansion of sustainable wheat programme in Hungary

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The Harmony expansion is designed to help Mondelēz boost efforts to meets its pledge that all its biscuit brands produced in Europe are made from Harmony wheat by the end of 2022. Pic: GettyImages/Monty Rakusen
The Harmony expansion is designed to help Mondelēz boost efforts to meets its pledge that all its biscuit brands produced in Europe are made from Harmony wheat by the end of 2022. Pic: GettyImages/Monty Rakusen

Related tags Mondelez International sustainable wheat Harmony Hungary ESG Biodiversity diversity, equity and inclusion Biscuits regenerative agriculture

The global snack and confectionery giant is expanding its Harmony Programme in Hungary – aiming for a higher local wheat content for its biscuits produced at its Győr biscuit factory in Székesfehérvár in central Hungary.

Harmony is Mondelēz International’s European sustainable wheat production programme, launched in France in 2008 to produce LU biscuits.

The programme provides full transparency on sustainable wheat production practices and guarantees the preservation of local biodiversity. Participating farmers receive a premium if they meet the strict criteria of the Harmony Charter, such as reducing the use of pesticides, carbon emissions and water use, and encouraging natural fertilization by dedicating 3% of their land as flower meadows to be pollinated by bees.

Today, more than 1,500 farmers and 18 mills in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain and Hungary are participating in Harmony, collectively producing around 290,000 tons of Harmony wheat annually. producing around 290,000 tons of Harmony wheat annually. With further expansion of the programme, Harmony wheat production in Europe is expected to increase to 385,000 tonnes by the end of 2022.

Harmony in Hungary

Currently, 67 Hungarian farmers have joined the programme, placing around 3,500 hectares under Harmony wheat production, mainly in the south-east and north-west of the country. The first Harmony wheat was sown in Hungary in 2019 and harvested in July 2020.

The Harmony Charter

“As the world’s largest biscuit producer, our mission is to ensure that wheat is grown sustainably. As part of the Harmony programme, we are changing the way we grow and harvest across Europe. We want to provide our environmentally conscious consumers with products that are made from sustainably produced raw materials.”

Harmony farmers – located as close as possible to Mondelēz’s biscuit factories – receive a premium to adhere to a demanding charter of better farming practices:

  • Minimise the use of pesticides and fertilizers through the rigorous selection of wheat seeds for their resilience and for the quality of the biscuits and through the recommended crop rotation and care for the soil.
  • Avoid unnecessary use of treatment and, if needed, to make better targeted and timely use through decision tools. Every treatment is registered and justified.
  • Reduce carbon emission, especially through the reduction of fertilizers.
  • Preserve water.
  • Protect and enhance the biodiversity of their local environments by dedicating 3% of farmer lands to meadow flowers or trees to attract and nourish bees and butterflies.

External audits are conducted annually to monitor adhesion to the Charter.

The Harmony expansion is designed to help Mondelēz’s boost efforts to meets its pledge that all its biscuit brands produced in Europe are made from Harmony wheat by the end of 2022. The company is not far off from that target. Last year, it used wheat grown in the Sustainable Wheat Programme for 91% of their biscuits made in Europe.

Global biscuit brands from Mondelēz’s global biscuit brands such as belVita and Dörmi biscuits are already made from Harmony wheat. The company will extend its sustainability programme to local brands, so that the market-leading sweet Győr biscuit (which celebrated its 70th​ anniversary in 2020) and the Vanilla hoop, Korpovit and Pilota will be made from sustainably produced wheat.

Gábor Mayer, MD of Mondelez Hungária Kft., said in a statement the Székesfehérvár facility produces around 16,000 tons of biscuits a year.

Snacking made right

Through initiatives such as Harmony, Cocoa Life and Mindful Snacking, Mondelēz International has committed to contributing to the transformation of the food systems in which it operates.

In May, Mondelēz published the progress it made against its ‘Snacking Made Right’ ESG goals, including:

  • Improving community livelihoods by scaling signature sourcing programmes; reducing use of virgin plastics in packaging; and reducing climate impact in owned operations
  • Advancing its diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals, by more than doubling the number of women in executive leadership, and improving US Black management representation by 60% year-over-year
  • Continuing to help create long-term value for business through ongoing investments in ESG and supply chain resiliency.

Mondelēz International has a footprint in 48 European countries, employing around 3,100 people in Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary to produce much-loved local products, including biscuit brands Opavia and Győri Édes and chocolate brands Figaro and Sport.

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