Old El Paso Fajita Kit (General Mills)

overall rating:

1

planets

Lucy Floydd
8/26/2021
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Of all the products I’ve reviewed, General Mills is the largest corporation I’ve seen to be the most sustainable and conscious in their practices. However, their product requires/recommends use of chicken in their fajitas, which inadvertently outsources the environmental and social responsibility of meat production onto others. On the whole, this reduces the sustainability of this product which is coupled with its significant greenhouse gas emissions. 

What it's made of:

2

One key raw material used in this fajita kit is wheat, which according to General Mills was supposed to be sourced 100% sustainably by 2020. However, only 86% of wheat was sourced sustainably in 2019. General Mills therefore need to ensure that they make their targets. It is also unclear what ‘sustainable sourcing’ in terms of wheat harvesting means, given that wheat harvesting still emits greenhouse gasses indirectly if not directly, from workers travelling to and from the farms and machinery used for collecting and sorting the grain. However, wheat was sourced from the Snake River Region, Northern Plains, Southern Plains and the Eastern Belt in the USA, which is predominately harvested with machinery, which reduces the human impact. Other prominent ingredients in the fajita kit which were unaccounted for in General Mills’ Sustainability Report include vegetable oil, chopped tomatoes, onions and green peppers. It is unclear as to where these are sourced from.

How it's made:

0.5

The majority of Old El Paso Fajita Kit production occurred in Spain and is then distributed to 28 different countries including United States, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Italy and Germany. This has a significant global reach, meaning that greenhouse gas emissions are substantial due to transportation at each level of the supply chain across the globe. Old El Paso Fajita Kits are also sold by Amazon, which has significant ethical implications for General Mills. In terms of labour laws, Amazon workers are “being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work or bereft of income after workplace accidents". This comes alongside a claim that Amazon’s warehouses were on a list of most dangerous places to work in the United States in April 2018.

Who makes it:

2

General Mills is a ‘leading global food company headquartered in Minneapolis, USA. It had fiscal 2018 worldwide sales of US$168 billion. General Mills claim they are committed to sustainably sourcing 100% of their ‘top priority ingredients’ by 2020. This represents more than 50% of their annual raw material purchases. These 10 ingredients are vanilla, cocoa, palm oil, sugarcane, oats, wheat, sugar beets, corn, dairy products and fibre packaging. General Mills are signatories of 2014 New York Declaration on deforestation, demonstrating their environmental consciousness; equally, most ingredients in the Old El Paso Fajita Kits are not sourced from regions at high risk of deforestation. General Mills aims to improve regenerative agriculture practices and water stewardship. However, challenges of soil health and water quality in wheat regions persist on wheat farms. Conservation practices are encouraged by General Mills e.g. 77% of growers in the Snake River Region use three or more conservation practices to guard against soil erosion. Workplace safety is impressive with 0.89 injuries per 100 people. There is a strong emphasis on supplier diversity to account for underrepresented groups. Specific goals to address food insecurity and the firm’s impact on food surpluses, such as an aim to enable 250 million meals for food-insecure people by 2030. Local grants to 50 communities in 2019 to strengthen hometown communities through employee volunteerism and community giving. Philanthropy e.g. General Mills has enabled over 674000 children to ‘have access to a nourishing school meal daily’.

Sources:

Global Responsibility Report, General Mills, 2019
https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/amazoncom-inc