GROUP chief executive of Sainsbury’s Justin King told NFU conference delegates the supermarket is committed to backing British farming.
He said: “In Sainsbury’s history we have never sourced more British food than we do today.”
The supermarket sources 50 per cent more British food than it did in 2007, which was the last time Mr King presented to NFU members.
And one of Sainsbury’s key commitments made in 2011 is to double British sourcing by 2020. In order to achieve this goal they will need to: l keep selling British products which are currently sold; l focus on selling more British produce in season; l convert what should be British to British; and l grow things in Britain traditionally grown out of UK.
“But Sainsbury’s will not suffer fools. We haven’t and never will prop up inefficient businesses,” he added.
“Sainsbury’s has built and wants to continue to build on trusting relationships with farm suppliers. Milk sales have increased by 38 per cent since 2007 but supplier numbers have remained largely the same, delivering £10 million to these farm business’s bottom lines. We believe in giving confidence and stability to farmers going forward.”
Investment in agricultural graduates and farming apprenticeships this summer, support for producer victims of the floods and £2.2 million spent on research and development projects in the last two years demonstrate the supermarket has commitment to the future of agriculture.
“I believe we have 145 years of backing British farming, over the last seven years since I stood here last, we’ve shown that its real, long-term and we’re prepared to invest,” said Mr King.