Two Farmers Crisps: Crunch with a conscience
PUBLISHED: 13:01 17 June 2019
Farmers Mark Green and Sean Mason have successfully launched a sustainable crisp brand using the UK's first biodegradable crisp packet
Two Farmers Crisps launched in September 2018, farmers Mark Green and Sean Mason are gearing up to fry ten tonnes of potatoes each week, that's enough crisps for a whopping 10,000 packets a day! With each Herefordshire-inspired flavour using local produce and production powered by waste from the farm, these two farmers have found a way for us to crunch with a conscience.
How it all began
Just over three years ago long-time friends Mark Green and Sean Mason were sat in their local pub with a pint and a packet of crisps for their regular catch-up. Little did they know that this was going to be the start of something extraordinary. Since that meeting, they have gone on to establish Two Farmers as the most exciting crisp brand to watch in 2019.
It has taken three hard years of efforts to launch their challenger crisp brand. As farmers, they knew they wanted to produce a crisp brand that celebrated local ingredients, that could be made on their own farm and would be sustainable. The biggest challenge was, of course, the packet itself and this took three years of trial and error to get to a stage where they were happy to launch it late in 2018.
Sean comments, "We looked at boxes and tins before the fully compostable crisp packet materialised. We now have the perfect solution - our packets are made of sustainably-grown eucalyptus wood fibres with vegetable ink printing, and will fully biodegrade in your home compost in under 26 weeks. A similar time frame applies when the packets meet seawater. When we set out with these ideas in 2015, we had no idea that plastic usage would become such a hot topic."
The whole operation uses their own potatoes. Mark is a potato farmer and Sean a potato merchant so they certainly know their spuds! They now fry up to 10 tonnes of potatoes each week with that number set to rise as they are already expanding their production to meet the fast-growing demand for this eco-friendly brand. Frying this amount of crisps is power hungry but at Two Farmers nothing goes to waste and thanks to an on-farm anaerobic digester, farm and crop waste along with the potato scraps and peelings produce the electricity which powers the fryers and production unit. This puts them way ahead of their competition and keeps their carbon footprint to a minimum.
Keeping it local
Both Mark & Sean are proud Herefordians and very much part of the local community. One of their main aims is to source their ingredients as locally as possible to create flavours with a Herefordshire twist and to keep food miles low and support their community. This was easier in some cases than others. They sourced Hereford Hop cheese from nearby cheesemaker Charles Martell and made cider vinegar from local apples. However, they really struggled to find a local producer of salt. Having searched the UK, a serendipitous turn led them to find a new start-up, just like themselves, Churchfield's saltworks in nearby Droitwich, Worcestershire. Churchfields produce high-grade salt from natural brine springs and dry it using renewable energy. It was, of course, a perfect fit and the two brands now work closely together.
The brand has four flavours currently with more in the offing later this year.
Hereford Bullshot: Gently seasoned with spices and the delicious flavour of Hereford Beef.
Salt & Two Farmers Cider Vinegar: Lightly salted and flavoured with Two Farmers own cider vinegar, made from apples grown in their Herefordshire orchards.
Lightly Salted: Lightly seasoned with Droitwich Salt, which is harvested by hand from natural springs and crystallised using renewable energy.
Hereford Hop Cheese & Onion: Seasoned with deliciously sharp and sweet Hereford Hop cheese, made by artisan cheesemakers Charles Martell & Son, and onions grown on Two Farmers' Herefordshire farm.
What next for the Two Farmers
The brand has already earned a loyal following of crisp converts who #crunchwithaconscience as well as having won a number of awards but the innovative pair are always looking at what they can do next. Mark comments "We are hoping to clean the gas produced by our AD plant and run the crisp fryers from the energy, and would also like our distribution vehicles to be electric in the future. We can't wait to see our Two Farmers vans travelling around the countryside to our customers around the region!."
In 2019, the brand will also be looking at producing bigger bags, a sharing tin and introducing some new flavours. They will also be concentrating on sharing their story along with some delicious crisps at nationwide food events, find them at the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC this June.
Sean: The Hereford Bullshot for me!
Mark: It has to be the Salt and Cider Vinegar