The company, which is majority-owned by US investment firm The Gores Group, has purchased two zero-emission eCanter trucks from Mitsubishi-owned electric vehicle (EV) maker FUSO, which will be used across Hovis’s London delivery routes on a trial basis.

Hovis claims that the 7.5-tonne EVs can travel up to 60 miles on a single charge, with the brand’s first electrified delivery set to take place at Tesco’s Rainham store today.

“We are very proud to be the first company to introduce electric bread lorries, with the first delivery marking an important step in our efforts to cut our logistics carbon footprint,” Hovis’ chief executive Nish Kankiwala said.

“The two eCanter vehicles will play an important role in sustainable fleet management and we are excited to see them in action.”

The company’s EV trial will last for two years, with Hovis set to work in partnership with FUSO and Mercedes-Benz to develop a wider emission reduction strategy and incorporate more EVs into its fleet.

The trial launch was welcomed by London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues, who said it would “protect Londoners’ health and the environment”.

Slicing emissions and waste

The EV trial comes after Hovis revamped its logistics route planning strategy, using data and digital mapping to determine the most fuel-efficient routes for its delivery fleets.

Away from emissions, the company has also implemented a string of measures to reduce its packaging waste output. In 2014, Hovis made headlines by launching a plant-based bread bag across its Seed Sensation range. The sugarcane-based bag, which has a 75% lower product carbon footprint than traditional plastic bread bags, has since been rolled out to two additional Hovis’ lines.

More recently, Hovis announced that it would revamp its recyclability labelling system in a bid to drive behaviour change among consumers. The new labels, which will be rolled out across its entire product range this month, will include clear instructions encouraging consumers to dispose of their bread bags at plastic collection points.

To complement the labelling scheme, Hovis will introduce a string of plastic bag collection points at the retailers it supplies to. The move came after a survey by the baker revealed that a third of customers were put off of recycling by complicated labelling systems.

Sarah George  

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie