What makes a sustainability leader? Meet our SME of the year, Made for Drink

Pictured: Daniel Featherstone from Made for Drink (centre) collecting his Award at edie's glittering ceremony in London

Made for Drink’s original vision was to create the world’s best bar snacks, using the best ingredients, snacking traditions and artisanal know-how from around the globe.

Click here for more information on the edie Awards 2023. 

The idea was that each meaty snack paired seamlessly with a leading alcoholic drink. The vision expanded in 2021 when Made for Drink entered the £3bn bagged snacks market, taking its tapas fries into a category dominated by nuts and potato crisps. The firm’s first product back in 2018 – ‘duck fritons’ – was 100% sustainable in the sense that they are made from surplus duck skin so, in essence, the company was recycling a waste product.

When Made for Drink’s founder Dan Featherstone got asked by his son if the business put plastic in ocean, it got him thinking about how difficult it is to keep an eye on the supply chain as a business grows.

The organisation commissioned a review of its entire supply chain and was horrified to discover that even as a fledging business, it emitted around 400g of CO2 for every pack sold and it was moving well over 100 tonnes a year.

Off the back of this, the company launched its ‘Doing the Right Thing’ campaign. As part of the initiative, it launched its first vegan line ‘Chicken Salt’ fries and moved its UK production to a 95% “green” energy model and its CO2 to net-neutral. It also invested heavily in researching, testing, and launching plastic-free pouches which did not short-change product quality or integrity. And it became a frontline sponsor for often overlooked women’s sport– Saracen’s Rugby.

On top of this, the company initiated the Exmoor Carbon project – a UNESCO biosphere business– sequestering a plot of ancient woodland, which eclipses its current carbon footprint tenfold.

Recently, Made for Drink signed a five-year global snacking alliance which will raise awareness and funds for one of English Heritage. The organisation’s first four-strong English Heritage sub-range provides a springboard for esteemed artisanal ingredient suppliers to tell their story. For example, the business is using hand-harvested Jurassic sea salt from Prince’s Trust food hero Jethro (Dorset Sea Salt Co), English truffles found by James and his truffle-tracking hound Jack (English Truffle Co), and potatoes grown on the chalky Yorkshire Wolds (Yorkshire Crisp Co).

Doing The Right Thing is not a short-term, faddy initiative Made for Drink has launched to curry favour or gather short-term headlines – it is a mindset which has been part and parcel of the business since day one in 2018. But it was not until 2020 that the organisation had the scale and finances to align with English Heritage, sponsor Saracens, sequester land, and tackle plastic pouches.

In 2022, the organisation’s priority is to reaffirm its commitment to animal-friendly farmers. This will include a new gold standard contract for farm and animal welfare which the company was penning at the time of receiving this Award in March 2022.

edie’s judges said: “This small-but-mighty company has really thought hard about sustainability, from beginning to end. We were blown away by the hard work and dedication of the management team to embed sustainability throughout the business and its products – a shining example for other SMEs across the world.”

Are you our next winner?

Now in its 16th year, the world’s largest sustainable business awards scheme – formerly known as the Sustainability Leaders Awards – continues to champion bold and brilliant climate leadership. From the most ambitious net-zero carbon programmes through to cutting-edge green innovations; from impactful climate partnerships and social sustainability initiatives to the heroes on the ground who are driving positive change.

The edie Awards are hosted during our flagship Business Leadership Month, offering a unique opportunity to have your sustainability achievements recognised and admired by thousands of businesses and climate experts. Winning an edie Award empowers teams, inspires stakeholders and accelerates sustainable business growth.

Entries for the awards are NOW OPEN and the deadline for entries is 14 October. The winners will then be revealed at a ceremony in London on 30 March 2023. Click here for full details and to enter. 


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