SALISBURY, NC. — Bartlett, a US-based grain merchandiser and processor, has formed a partnership with grocery retailer Ahold Delhaize USA and global snacking leader Kellanova to reduce Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from wheat farming across the value chain, the companies announced on June 17.

The companies said the pilot program will leverage financial investments to support the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices among wheat farmers in North Carolina. The wheat harvested and milled from these farms will be used alongside conventionally grown wheat to produce Kellanova’s Cheez-It and Club crackers. These products will be sold at the local brand stores of Ahold Delhaize USA in 2025.

The pilot program is set to take place this summer, the companies said.

“The companies of Ahold Delhaize USA are committed to offering more sustainable food products as we strive to create a healthier planet,” said JJ Fleeman, chief executive officer, Ahold Delhaize USA. “An important step in this journey is reducing Scope 3 carbon emissions, which requires partnerships like this one with Kellanova and Bartlett. We’re excited to be a part of this collaboration as we focus on our Scope 3 commitments.”

Bartlett, the largest flour miller in North Carolina, accounts for more than half of the state’s daily milling capacity at 35,000 cwts, according to Sosland Publishing’s 2024 Grain & Milling Annual. It has mills in Statesville (15,000 cwts) and Wilson’s Mills (20,000 cwts), a plant that completed a major expansion in 2023.

“We’re excited to work with our customers and partners to improve on-farm environmental outcomes, while increasing overall sustainability across the milling and baking supply chain,” said Bob Knief, president of Bartlett, a Savage Company. “We have a strong commitment to continuous improvement and look forward to engaging with and supporting North Carolina wheat farmers in measuring and optimizing their sustainability performance.”

The program will involve a four-part process:  

• Farmers will grow regenerative wheat in eastern North Carolina and Bartlett’s certified crop advisers will work with these farmers, providing technical assistance for implementing conservation practices to improve soil health, which improves water quality and helps reduce emissions.

• Bartlett will combine the regenerative wheat with conventional wheat and mill it into flour at its recently expanded facility in Wilson’s Mills.

• Kellanova will bake the wheat into Cheez-It and Club crackers at its facility in Cary, NC.

• Ahold Delhaize USA will sell the crackers across its more than 2,000 local stores beginning in 2025.

“As part of our ambitious Kellanova Better Days Promise, we’ve committed to both reducing our emissions and advancing the well-being of people, including farmers, across our food value chain,” said Carrie Sander, chief customer officer, North America, Kellanova. “We believe in the power of partnership and are excited to collaborate with Ahold Delhaize USA and Bartlett to help potentially improve outcomes for wheat farmers. This innovative program helps us simultaneously work toward both these goals.”

The companies said the program is expected to generate agronomic insights on farm and supply chain resiliency. Arva Intelligence, whose mission is to empower farmers to grow their business, while driving a larger environmental asset economy, will use its CropForce platform to measure, report, and verify impacts to the partners’ respective emissions reductions, providing scalable knowledge each company can potentially take forward into the development of other Scope 3 initiatives.

“Ninety-five percent of Ahold Delhaize USA emissions reside in Scope 3, which makes this program incredibly important,” said Marc Stolzman, chief sustainability officer for Ahold Delhaize USA. “Not only will this help us on our race to Net Zero, but the data will help us to chart our future path for Scope 3 collaborations.”

The pilot will focus on farmers who already have implemented regenerative agricultural practices, enabling the cultivation of a base of farmers experienced in these practices to help teach new ones and facilitate the transition. Production is slated to begin this summer, with the final product expected to reach Ahold Delhaize USA brand shelves in 2025, with pilot learnings to quickly follow.