Waitrose: Whatever future trade deals may hold, we remain committed to our farmersChristian Fernsby ▼ | June 26, 2020
Waitrose has become the first UK supermarket to announce that it will not stock chlorinated chicken or hormone injected beef even if new trade deals allow for such imports.
James Bailey, the new boss of the supermarket, said “any regression from the standards we have pioneered for the last 30 years would be an unacceptable backwards step”, adding that they would be “closing our eyes to a problem that exists in another part of the world and to animals who are out of our sight and our minds”.
The message supports a National Farmers Union campaign to ban imports of food produced to a lower standard than currently allowed in the UK.
Trade Secretary Liz Truss told MPs last week that the UK’s food standards will not be compromised by new trade deals.
Also, Waitrose announced that it is giving its entire own-label fresh bacon and gammon ranges an industry-leading upgrade next week, when it introduces lower levels of nitrite - without compromising on taste or quality.
The supermarket will be the first to reduce the preservative across its entire own-brand fresh bacon and gammon range - from its essential Waitrose range through to its premium No. 1 range*. Examples include nitrite being reduced by 60% in essential Waitrose bacon and gammon, and by 10% in its dry cure bacon and gammon in all other ranges. The updated products will start appearing on shelves from Monday (29 June).
The move comes in response to growing public awareness surrounding nitrites after a World Health Organisation (WHO) report recommended limiting these in the diet.
Nitrites are a preservative, responsible for producing bacon and gammon’s characteristic flavour, texture, taste and colour, but removing it completely would mean it’s simply defined as salty pork.
Waitrose has seen a 44% surge in bacon sales in the last three months, as data from Kantar shows that the number of cooked breakfasts served in UK households has almost doubled during lockdown, with an estimated 20 million eaten during the four weeks to 19 April.
All Waitrose pork is sourced from British farms, reared by dedicated farmers. All its pigs are reared outdoors and none of its pig farms use slatted floors or confinement stalls. ■