The home of the much-loved Pembrokeshire potato has added a new iconic product to supermarket shelves with the launch of the UK's first carbon neutral potato.

The planet-friendly potatoes will hit supermarket shelves next week.

Root Zero planet friendly potatoes are grown in Pembrokeshire by Puffin Produce and have been launched into 200 Co-op stores across the UK. Further supermarket availability is expected to be announced in the coming months.

The spuds are certified carbon neutral and grown using sustainable farming practices to remove carbon dioxide, create healthy soil and increase local biodiversity.

The company has measured every contribution to the potatoes’ carbon footprint – from the power used on the farm to the transport used to take Root Zero potatoes to the supermarket, even down to customers cooking their spuds at home.

Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce, explained: “The food system contributes up to 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions which are causing the planet to heat up faster than ever before.

"We have to act now – so we’re on a mission to become carbon neutral and farm in a way that protects and regenerates our land, plants and wildlife.

“This isn’t easy. We’ve engaged the best scientific advice and partnered with organisations who are helping us to measure, reduce and certify our impact. And we’re also sharing what we learn along the way – with farmers, producers, retailers and customers – so that we can all have a more positive impact on the planet.

“We are hoping that Root Zero will be the first of many carbon neutral, responsibly grown, sustainably packaged products that will start to tackle the huge impact of the food industry on climate change,” he said.

Based on the findings from the footprint assessment, Puffin Produce has set a target to reduce the carbon intensity of Root Zero potatoes by 51 per cent by 2030, covering emissions from across the entire supply chain.

Going further, Puffin Produce has also committed through the Science Based Target Initiative to a company-wide 1.5°C target to reduce its operational emissions by 46 per cent by 2030.

It is also investing in carbon offset projects that will neutralise all currently unavoidable carbon emissions. They include reduction schemes which cut emissions as well as removal projects which absorb greenhouse gases.

Root Zero has partnered with two specialist organisations, 3Keel and Climate Partner, to support its climate reduction and offset goals respectively.

Simon Miller, managing partner of sustainability advisors 3Keel who supported the development of Root Zero said: "Puffin Produce is a unique potato producer. It has long term relationships with local Pembrokeshire growers, who farm potatoes in multi-year rotations that lead to healthier soils.

“The carbon footprint of farming, storing, packing and transportation of potatoes have all been measured, with decarbonisation plans now in place at every stage.

"In the short term, Root Zero potatoes will also be made carbon neutral from investing in high quality offsets, and over the years more trees and larger hedgerows on the Pembrokeshire farms will take up carbon dioxide emissions," he said.

New varieties will also be introduced which do not require storage at low temperatures, along with using more fuel-efficient tractors and electric cars and moving towards 100 per cent green electricity use from 2023.

Root Zero will also be generating its own green energy by installing solar panels at its production site and wind turbines on its farms.

Morgan Scale is the fourth generation of his family to farm potatoes on their 900 acres of land near Rosemarket.

He added: “Climate change is affecting everything we do, putting soil, wildlife and our ability to grow at risk. We’re developing new techniques and learning from climate change experts to increase our management of the land and ensure our natural environment is strong and resilient.2

The planet-friendly potatoes are packed in 100 per cent plastic-free paper bags which. Innovations in water-based inks and a special adhesive technology makes the paper bag completely recyclable and home-compostable.