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13th May 2024

Waitrose unveils plans to accelerate nature-friendly farming in Britain

Written by: Edward Waddell
Waitrose has committed to support more than 2,000 of its British farmers to move to nature-friendly farming practices, helping to boost financial resilience of farms in the long-term and combat the effects of climate change.

According to a survey conducted in February 2024 on 1,249 target customers, Waitrose found that four in ten customers were worried about the impact that modern farming is having on nature and wildlife.

Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that focuses on improving the health of the soil and the environment, making it healthier and more productive. 

In a speech to farmers, executive director James Bailey announced that Waitrose will work with them to produce food that works in harmony with nature, to source meat, milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables from UK farms which use regenerative practices by 2035.

In turn, Waitrose hope this will protect British farmers against the effects of climate change, enhance nature and ensure customers can buy the best and most delicious British-grown produce for many years to come.

Bailey said: “We want Waitrose customers to know that when they shop with us, they are voting with their purses and wallets for a food system that restores and works in harmony with the natural world, and that supports a financially sustainable future for British farmers.

“We have a duty to help our farmers make the move towards more nature-friendly growing, and we’re committed to playing our part in the revolution that our country’s food system requires.”

Waitrose will:

  • Develop plans for British farmers to access affordable finance and provide resources to support their transition to regenerative and low carbon farming.
  • Provide a market for regeneratively produced food in Waitrose shops and online.
  • Have a permanent Centre of Excellence at Leckford farm, providing practical tools, workshops, online resources and mentoring to help farmers to make the shift to regenerative agriculture. 
  • Work with a group of farmers to develop their understanding of regenerative practices across different supply chains, tailored to farming types and then scale these into supply chains.
  • Complete a ‘state of nature’ assessment by 2026 of all their own brand UK farms and create land management plans so farmers and growers can improve priority habitats and support thriving biodiversity.
  • Undertake field trials and new innovative practices at Leckford farm, which will help inform their approach to regenerative practices in their supply chains.

Key parts of the plan include collaborations with LEAF and the University of Reading.