Stowmarket: Muntons launches low carbon malting barley trial

MALT supplier Muntons is embarking on a ground-breaking project which could reduce the carbon footprint of a host of popular food and drink products.

In a bid to produce the world’s first sustainable low-carbon malt, the Stowmarket-based company has begun a long-term trial, in partnership with farmers, to grow malting barley using methods that will dramatically reduce reliance on carbon-intensive man-made chemical fertilisers.

Malting barley growers taking part in the trial will use “green compost” made up of food-safe recycled green materials, such as grass cuttings and hedge trimmings.

Where possible, they will apply this natural fertiliser in place of manufactured fertilisers, so helping to cut the carbon emissions involved in the production process.

It is anticipated that, after the trial has been running for three years, the farmers will have been able to eliminate entirely the use of any man-made potassium and phosphate-based fertilisers.

Muntons has also liaised closely with a leading fertiliser manufacturer to source a man-made nitrogen fertiliser with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint, so that where synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is required in the trial it will have been produced as sustainably as possible.

The trial is taking place on farms near Muntons’ plant at Bridlington, East Yorkshire, with the malting barley grown being processed into malt for a leading UK brewer. However, the malt will also be suitable for use in other products that contain malt, including bread, biscuits, confectionery and beverages.

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Nigel Davies, manufacturing and technical director at Muntons, said: “It’s early days, and this is a long term trial that will last several years, but we’re confident we’re at the beginning of something truly trailblazing. A lot of people have been talking about being green, but our commitment to making low carbon malt a reality shows how we consider carbon footprinting a key business focus.”