Supermarket food commitment

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THE National Farmers Union (NFU) has said it is delighted by a commitment from Sainsbury’s to double its sourcing of British food.

Launched as part of the retailer’s new Sustainability Plan, the targets set also include a commitment to ensuring all meat, poultry, eggs, game and dairy products will be sourced from suppliers who adhere to independent higher welfare standards.

NFU director of corporate affairs Tom Hind said: “The commitment from Sainsbury’s to double its sourcing of British food should be commended; it is a bold and positive step for food and farming. It recognises the high quality and standards of production and environmental protection that British farmers meet every day; those same standards that consumers increasingly expect in the food they buy.

“This additional demand will send a really positive signal to our British farmers and growers at a time when they are facing massive investment pressures and rising energy, fuel and feed costs across the board.

“However, it is also important that the NFU scrutinises the detail of the plan to ensure that the commitments have integrity and deliver sustainability for UK agriculture. We want to ensure that commitments to driving efficiency, for example, and work with farmers to offer longer-term relationships with stable and profitable prices. These should then help with challenges such as terms of investments.”

The Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan sets out 20 sustainability targets to be achieved by 2020, addressing four key areas:

Operational Excellence - including reducing operational carbon emissions by 30 per cent absolute and 65 per cent relative, compared with 2005.

Colleagues - including 20,000 Sainsbury’s employees achieving 20 years of service at Sainsbury’s.

Communities - including creating 50,000 new jobs in the UK.

And the area that relates to UK agriculture most, Sustainable and Healthy Products.

The NFU will be meeting with Sainsbury’s to discuss the implementation and timing of the plan, and the opportunities that exist for British farmers and growers.