Birmingham, UK, 2014-2-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — Justin King, Sainsbury’s Chief Executive reinforced the importance of British sourcing at today’s NFU conference. At a time when the UK faces a storm of adverse weather and economic difficulty the retailer is committed to sourcing closer to home.
Speaking to an audience of farmers, MPs and retailers at the ‘Backing the Business of British Farming’ conference, Justin King takes to the stage seven years since he last addressed the conference. His speech covers the investment made by the retailer and its farmers to drive British innovation, the tough times farming has faced and the unrelenting focus on giving our customers what they want.
Seven years after last speaking at the conference Justin King, Chief Executive at Sainsbury’s said: “A lot has changed, we now source more British products than ever, yet many things have remained the same such as consumer trust. Consumer trust is crucial to the success of our business and of the UK farming industry.
“Together with our farmers we have invested in where and how food is produced, and as we work towards our commitment to double the amount of British food we sell by 2020 our farming Development Groups and UK producers will be key to this.”
Emphasising this commitment, the strategy focuses on: What is British will stay British, selling more British when it is in season and growing produce in Britain that would historically be sourced from abroad. To do this requires development and research, for example converting fresh pork to 100% British last summer or the trial of growing figs in Essex.
Highlights of British sourcing over the years include:
- In 2007 we were in the process of establishing our Dairy Development Group – today and we have ten groups covering 2,500 farmers across all the main commodities from pork, lamb, eggs to wheat and produce, giving our farmers confidence and stability to invest.
- All our fresh chicken has been 100 per cent British for over 10 years. All our milk, eggs, sausages and many other own brand products are 100 per cent British all year round.
- Over the past two years we have invested £2.2m in Sainsbury’s agricultural R&D grants focusing on diverse subjects including: The effects of foot trimming lame sheep, frost protection methods to improve the quality for leeks and extending the British Strawberry Season using LED lighting.
- Last July we announced a first-of-its-kind Agricultural Graduate Scheme to attract the brightest young talent into British agriculture and a second intake of our agricultural graduates will start in September.