McIlhenny Company Avery Island: Man and Environment in Balance

At McIlhenny Company, sustainability
has long been a way of life.

As we work to pull together the story of our company’s long and symbiotic relationship with the environment, we have discovered a number of things to be true. First, we learned that we were doing much more than we were aware of; second, we realized that we have much more we can be doing; and third, we found that when we asked our people to get involved, they were not only interested, but committed and even passionate about it. And passion can be the source of innovation.

For us, stewardship is a past, present and future guiding principle. How do we continue to be good stewards of the TABASCO® brand, the resources it takes to make the products and the people who make it happen?

This is a question we should be asking every day. And we are.

As we look to the future of McIlhenny Company, what do we see?

We are always looking for new ways to improve our business and operations. We are aware of the impact of growth and development on our “home,” Avery Island, Louisiana, and we understand our responsibility to manage our own environmental footprint.

The company recognizes that it has a responsibility to operate in a sustainable manner. This responsibility increases with the company’s growth and the expansion of our brand’s reach as we serve more and more customers around the world.

As we reach these consumers, we want them to understand that TABASCO® stands for more than just “hot” sauce. We often say, “It’s more than just hot,” and it really is. When you buy TABASCO® brand products, you are getting five generations of commitment to quality standards and excellence in production.

Our commitment to you as we go forward is to continue our sustainability journey, to develop new and innovative ways to measure our impacts and to manage those impacts to reduce our overall influence on the environment.

At McIlhenny Company, we see a future that is bright and full of opportunities. But those opportunities are only possible if we are good stewards of our natural resources, so that they will be here for generations to come.

As a company that is over 140 years old, we want to build a business that is sustainable to the next 140 years.

I am pleased to share the following highlights from our larger sustainability report. If you are interested in receiving additional information from this report, please email us.


Harold Gray Osborn

Harold Gray Osborn
Chief Sustainability Officer
Senior Vice President
McIlhenny Company

Sustainability Report Highlights

TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is made from three ingredients: peppers, salt and vinegar.

For over 140 years, McIlhenny Company has grown its peppers on Avery Island. In the 1960s, the company looked elsewhere to meet increased need for the peppers. We developed test plots in several Latin American countries, and by the early 1980s, more than 80% of our pepper mash was sourced elsewhere. The vinegar is distilled grain beech wood-generated vinegar. The grain is grown in the Midwestern U.S. and processed into vinegar in Texas and Alabama. Salt is sourced primarily from the salt mine located on Avery Island, Louisiana.

Since its early days, McIlhenny Company has manufactured its premier product in a sustainable manner.

A single-plant facility located on Avery Island produces and bottles the majority of TABASCO® branded products. This helps us to manage the overall resources used in production and to limit water and energy consumption. Also, the majority of our products have always been bottled in glass. Glass containers are 100% recyclable and are the only food and beverage packaging material that is chemically inert. Whenever possible, packaging materials are sourced regionally to reduce shipping costs and energy consumption. Those materials include plastic and glass containers, which are 100% recyclable.

Since our company’s inception, it has had a zero-waste approach.

Using recycled cologne bottles, stoneware jars and oak barrels, McIlhenny Company, out of necessity, produced TABASCO® in an extremely efficient and cost-effective manner. Today, most “waste” from the production process is still reused. Pepper skins and seeds are used as compost or for other commercial products. White oak barrels used for aging our pepper mash are reused for up to 50 years. Even then, discarded barrels are broken up to build fences and tables, and to make wood chips for resale as a branded product. Mash solids (pepper skins and seeds) and runoff are used either as compost or for other commercial products. And, by incorporating mash waste back into the field as compost, we have reduced landfill usage by 312 tons annually and have increased organic materials in the soils.