From talk to action

Dafgård’s happy and sustainable pigs

Published June 20, 2016

Carl Dafgård at EAT Stockholm Food Forum. Photo: Linus Sundahl Djerf / EAT

After last year’s participation at EAT Stockholm Food Forum, Swedish ready meals maker Carl Dafgård went back to his office with the vision to reorganized the business to make the meat production more sustainable. This year he was back to share how the company actually did it.

As one of the participants at the competence forum Minimizing Food Waste from Field to Fork, Dafgård told business colleges and competitors about the steps his company has taken to make the pig meat used in the production more sustainable.

“It feels nice to be back at the conference to share our experience,” said Dagfård, Strategic Sourcing Manager at Gunnar Dafgård AB. “If our competitors also want to imply these production methods, it only makes me happy.

According to Dafgård, the actions taken to make pig meat production to more sustainable, are not very original.


«“The new methods are really taking it back to basic. Pigs were originally kept to eat food waste, and that is what we are doing.”» Carl Dafgård

Dafgård says a main aim should be reduce the overall meat consumption. However, meat plays an essential part of our diet and culinary culture, and since many people will continue to eat meat, he sees it an obligation to make the production more sustainable.

Gunnar Dafgård AB has contracts with a great number of pig farmers that supply the ready meal business with meat. Since last year’s Stockholm Food Forum, the company has negotiated new deals with some farmers that are willing to change their production methods.

Internally the project is called “Better Pigs”. The 2500 pigs in the project are feed with waste from bakeries, breads and dough that might not be according to the standards for size and look. The pigs’ manure is used to fertilize the fields of the farms, which is also back to basic. Furthermore, the pigs in the project cannot be exposed to antibiotics nor fed with soya, and they must be outdoors, with the option to go indoors when they need shelter. These “happy pigs” also get to keep their tails and are not castrated.

Carl Dafgård says the improved production requirements can be good for branding the company, however, the main motivation is to lower production costs by using food waste.

Another driving factor is to be a responsible business and contribute to make the food industry more sustainable.

“Food waste is a great challenge. The bread and dough from our bakery has until now been used to produce biofuel, which is also good. However, it’s a big step in the right direction to use food waste to produce food.”

Gunnar Dafgård AB, based in Lidkjöping, has in total 1000 employees. Carl Dafgård says it might be easier for smaller businesses to make quick decisions and imply solutions than it is for huge enterprises.

“We are a family business with a short way from talk to action.”

“Do the changes towards more sustainable production methods make your employees proud?”

“I think our employees just take it for granted that we do our best in every aspects of the business, and sustainability is one aspect.”