► ResponsibilityDrive ethical sourcing

Drive ethical sourcing


We work with over 1,200 active suppliers and our aim is to develop long-term, sustainable partnerships with our key suppliers which drive mutual benefits. 86% of our total third party spend is with UK based suppliers, and our top 250 suppliers account for in excess of 93% of our total spend on the goods and services that we purchase.

Ethical standards and commitments

We believe it is important to understand the impact that our purchased goods have on the environment, animal welfare and the people who produce it. We therefore always aim to purchase ingredients and packaging certified to recognised environmental and ethical standards, such as palm oil from producers that meet the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) criteria, egg products that are certified from cage-free hens, cocoa from UTZ (a program for sustainable farming) certified producers, or cardboard boxes and other paper products that meet the Forestry Stewardship Council requirements. See our case studies below for further information.

In the latest World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, we received top marks in recognition of our positive action to support sustainable palm oil sourcing. Indeed, over 90% of the palm oil we use is traceable back to the producing mills. We have also switched to sourcing sustainable cocoa from UTZ certified producers for some of our Customer own label brands, and accordingly in 2018 our Carlton and Knaresborough sites achieved UTZ certification.


SEDEX_logo.jpgWe're also a member of Sedex (the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange). SEDEX is a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains. We ask all our ingredients and packaging suppliers to become members to give visibility of their ethical performance and help in our regular risk assessments of our supply base. Currently, 88% of our suppliers are registered with Sedex, equating to 98% of our direct spend. 



Achieving our palm oil commitment one year early

While we buy a relatively small amount of palm oil we're concerned that what we do buy is from certified sources that avoid damaging the tropical rainforest and biodiversity of South East Asia. As a result, we made a commitment in 2012 to buy only Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified palm oil by the end of 2015.

With the help of our suppliers we achieved our ambition one year early and now all of the palm oil we use is from Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sources using the mass balance supply chain model.


In addition, EXOVA BMTRADA, the leading independent certification body, has audited all our manufacturing sites against the RSPO Supply Chain Certification system which provides independent assurance that the palm oil we use is from RSPO certified sources. Our RSPO certificate number is BMT-RSPO-000038.
The WWF recently recognised this significant achievement in their 2016 palm oil buyers scorecard, the results of which can be found here.



Packaging from sustainable forests

It's a minimum requirement that all the paper and carton-board packaging we use is compliant with the EU Timber Regulation which makes it a crime to place illegally harvested timber and timber products on the EU market. But we go further.
Wherever possible, we aim to use paper and board packaging from certified sustainably managed forest resources. To date, 100% of our corrugated packaging is from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources. 


Animal welfare

Animal welfare is a key business priority for us and we measure our performance against the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW).

We use animal-based ingredients such as milk, eggs and meat across a range of our products. We believe all animals should be treated responsibly and with dignity, and we work with our suppliers to ensure high standards of animal welfare are met.

We understand that animals are sentient beings and have the right to a good life and a sense of well-being. Our Animal Welfare Policy embraces the Farm Animal Welfare Committee's stated Five Freedoms, identified to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock. They are:

  1.  Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  2.  Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3.  Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
  4.  Freedom to express normal behaviour.
  5.  Freedom from fear and distress.

Our policy spans all animal species reared for supply to us including beef, pork, lamb, poultry, finned fish, dairy and egg products. We are both a direct purchaser (Direct) of animal product (e.g. meat, egg, milk powder) and an indirect purchaser (Indirect) through our ingredient supply chain, where the raw material forms part of a component of a larger ingredient system (e.g. a chicken derivative used in a flavour or paste system). 

Click on the below links to learn more about...

Introducing PLANTASTIC... our new plant-based brand!
We're supporting the growth in demand for non animal-derived protein food products with the imminent launch of our new brand, PLANTASTIC. A celebration of delicious plant-based nutrition, all recipes under the PLANTASTIC brand are fully plant-based, do not contain any animal ingredients, and contain no artificial colours and flavours.

The new range launched with a range of cakes and flapjacks during Autumn 2019!


Modern day slavery

Premier Foods is committed to tackling all forms of hidden labour exploitation, including slavery and human trafficking. We have policies and procedures in place to help identify and eradicate these practices within our business and to reduce and eliminate risks in our supply chain.

Premier Foods Modern Day Slavery Statement:

In addition, all our manufacturing sites are Stronger Together partners. Stronger Together is a multi-stakeholder initiative of colleagues, labour providers, workers and their representatives focused on addressing modern day slavery and third party exploitation.

Premier Foods permanently employs just under 4,000 people in the UK across 15 different locations. We engage temporary labour at sites, both directly and via labour agencies to cover seasonal production peaks, and we outsource other services, such as cleaning and catering, to third party providers.

All Premier Foods colleagues are required to abide by our Code of Conduct, which stipulates that people should be fairly treated. In addition, we have a specific policy on preventing hidden labour exploitation, which specifies the measures we take to ensure hidden worker exploitation does not take place at any of our sites.

As part of our policy, our Human Resources teams receive specific training on labour exploitation and all colleagues are provided with information on the subject. New joiners watch a training video as part of their induction, and colleagues and agency workers are positively encouraged to report hidden cases of labour exploitation, including via a confidential whistle blowing helpline, all of which will be investigated. As part of our support for the Stronger Together initiative, all of our manufacturing sites were audited to support compliance with our policy, and we intend to continue to audit them regularly to maintain focus on this important issue.

Our policy includes all third party providers providing staff to Premier Foods (e.g. labour agencies, logistics partners). This included around 50 suppliers who were asked to sign up to our HR policy statement to prevent hidden labour exploitation.

Given the wide range of products we produce, we have a substantial number of ingredient, packaging and services suppliers. While we buy mostly from UK based suppliers, we do source some items from other countries around the world.

To mitigate the risk of labour exploitation throughout our supply chain, we have established an Ethical Trading Policy, which has been based around internationally recognised code of labour practices. This sets minimum requirements covering the following areas:

1. employment is freely chosen;
2. freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
3. working conditions are safe and hygienic
4. child labour shall not be used
5. living wages are paid
6. working hours are not excessive
7. no discrimination is practised
8. regular employment is provided
9. no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

Click to see our full policy for more detail.

Each year, a copy of our Ethical Trading Policy is sent to c.1,400 suppliers encouraging them to follow our same practices.


Food safety and quality

The safety and quality of our products is of paramount importance to us. Our internal quality compliance team focuses on controls and standards across all our manufacturing sites, auditing to our Corporate Technical Standard, supporting a range of initiatives, and driving continuous improvement quality programmes. We conduct Food Safety and Compliance audits on all direct suppliers and co-manufacturers deemed medium or high risk, as determined by assessment of the supplier’s accreditations, geographic sourcing region and nature of the product supplied. 

A particular focus for us is the authenticity of the materials we purchase. We have been heavily involved in the establishment of the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN) where we sit on the Governing Board and chair
their Technical Steering Group. This is a UK food industry initiative to share intelligence and data on food authenticity, with 43 members across food Retail, Foodservices and manufacturing, representing a very significant element of the UK food industry. 

To support our food safety and quality standards, we have an internationally recognised laboratory, Premier Analytical Services (PAS) carrying out research and analysis of food ingredients and packaging, employing around 48 scientists and
performing approximately 100,000 tests per annum.



Our Case Studies


Sourcing locally

... apples from UK orchards

Our Mr Kipling Apple Pies are the UK's favourite, but why do they taste so exceedingly good? Well, Mr. Kipling uses only fine tasting Bramley apples grown in UK orchards in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Northern Ireland. Once cooked, the Bramley becomes golden and fluffy, making it the ideal apple variety for pies.

The first 'Bramley' tree grew in a cottage garden in Nottinghamshire owned by Matthew Bramley and in 1856, a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Mr Bramley agreed but insisted the apples should bear his name. Each year, Mr Kipling buys total of 800 tonnes of Bramley apples to bake his much loved apple pies.