Waitrose announced it has become the first retailer to use ’responsibly’ sourced European soya in animal feed at its Waitrose Farming Partnership conference
Waitrose has received its first shipment of soya grown in the Danube region of Europe as it attempts to bring its supply chain closer to home.
The move, announced at the Waitrose Farming Partnership’s annual conference at Telford, was intended to reduce its reliance on South American supply as demand from the developing world increases.
Eleven per cent of the raw materials Waitrose uses for feed is soya, with 3 per cent of this GM.
Rob Collins, Waitrose managing director, said: “Everyone knows the difficulty of sourcing soya from South America. It fits perfectly into our strategy to improve our supply chain security by sourcing animal feed from raw materials grown at home or within the UK and Europe.”
Andrew Saunders, director of agriculture at Dalehead foods, told the conference of plans to reduce soya in diets. Waitrose has been running a ‘Faba bean project’ with the intention of replacing soya in diets with faba bean or other UK grown crops.
"We are targeting to maximise use of UK grown feed crops where possible and to be the first to develop a European supply chain,” he said. “In pigs, our use of soya has been falling. It has fallen about 50 per cent over the last 10 years."
The Soil Association hailed the move as the ‘the biggest blow against GM crops this century’.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said it had opposed the ‘large-scale but hidden use of GM crops’ as animal feed by UK supermarkets which is not required to be labelled.
He said: “GM soya from Latin America is linked to rainforest destruction, so sourcing non-GM soya from the Danube region, and using more UK-grown protein crops, is good for the climate, good for UK farmers, and good for consumers.”