The quality and innovation behind its potato starch saw Meade Farm, based in Lobinstown, Co. Meath, recently recognised across four different award programmes.

The family agribusiness won a gold medal at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2022; the Best Supply Chain Team of the Year award at the National Procurement Awards; the Circular Economy Leadership Award and the overall Grand Prix Award at the IMR Irish Manufacturing and Supply Chain Awards. 

IMR awards judge and head of external collaborations at Nokia Bell Labs, Julie Byrne, said that the company’s courageous pivot had resulted in a new consistent market for out-of-spec/surplus potatoes in Ireland.

It has the added benefit of the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of food manufactured here that previously used imported potato starch, she added.

Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme also awarded the business a gold membership for its exemplary record in raw material sourcing, manufacturing and social sustainability.

Meade Farm

While Meade Farm’s main business is growing, packing and distributing fresh produce, its commitment to be more sustainable and make full use of its crops has led it to extract potato starch from the surplus and wonky potatoes that pass through the packhouse. 

It augments these with the by-product of the crisping and chipping industry to make its food-grade starch, establishing an innovative and new sustainable supply chain model that offers import substitution.

The traditional supply chain model for starch plants abroad primarily uses crops grown specifically for starching.

Sustainable starch

Meade is the only potato-starch extraction plant in the UK and Ireland offering food-grade starch to manufacturers and consumers, according to the company.

The sustainability credentials of its potato starch include a circular economy-based supply chain and reduced transport carbon emissions from local sourcing. 

Potatoes also have one of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions measurements of all food, almost five times lower than corn, according to the company.

Potato starch is used by food processors for binding and thickening and by consumers as a thickener for stews, soups, stir fries and sauces, a gluten-free baking ingredient and for light, crispy frying. 

Increasingly popular with foodies, potato starch is a corn starch/cornfour substitute that is more efficient – 30% less is required – and can be used at the end of the cooking process for instant effect.  It will be available at selected Tesco stores at the end of October.