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Local Feed for Local Pigs

by 5m Editor
17 May 2010, at 10:47am

UK - As part of its drive to cut carbon emissions, supermarket chain, Waitrose, has signed a multi-million pound deal to supply pork in a more sustainable way.

As part of the first initiative of its kind in the UK, barley and wheat for Waitrose's pig farms in East Anglia are now being sourced from within a 50-mile radius of the feed mill.

This is significantly improving the carbon footprint of the supermarket's pork products through a reduction in transport and better quality control, according to Waitrose. The move also gives full traceability over animal feed.

The scheme also further strengthens Waitrose's partnership with its farmers. Already, all of its beef and pork are British, including the meat used in ready meals, prepared foods, pies and sausages.

The scheme is running as a partnership between Waitrose, supplier Dalehead Foods, producer BQP, feed compounder BOCM Pauls, grain merchant Openfield and its farmer members.

Andrew Saunders, managing director of BQP, said: "By sourcing grain from local farms, we can all benefit by removing the unnecessary costs associated with transport, administration and trading, as well as helping the environment."

The model is now being looked at as a blueprint for other supply chains through out the country.

Heather Jenkins, director of agricultural strategy at Waitrose, said: "We are proud of our pig farming model developed with BQP, where the pigs are outdoor bred and finished on straw. High animal welfare is paramount and so is an efficient supply chain. The initiative will strengthen its efficiency and underpin its sustainability."

All sows spend 100 per cent of their productive lives outdoors, while weaned pigs are moved indoors into straw-bedded, light and iary buildings with 10 per cent more space than the industry standard.

Furthermore, Waitrose has a unique payment model for its pig farmers that takes into account the cost of production for the farmer as well as retail and market prices. This ensures that its farmers receive sustainable and stable returns. The model has been described by BPEX as 'the closest thing to ideal within the industry.