Animal Welfare

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

In 2016, we strengthened our Animal Welfare Policy with a view to working with our suppliers to drive even higher animal welfare outcomes, and in 2017 amended the policy further to address the use of antibiotics.

Our revised policy has been communicated to all relevant suppliers, and we’ve gathered data to assess each supplier’s current approach to animal welfare and the standards they apply. 

The way in which we source our ingredients directly impacts the amount of influence we have on these goods, namely:
High Influence Direct purchase of the primary raw material used in our products (e.g. milk, egg, dairy powder)
Medium Influence Indirect purchase as a result of the primary raw material forming a component of a larger ingredient system (e.g. an animal derivative being used in a flavour or paste system)
Low Influence As a direct or indirect ingredient by a third party and/or co-manufacturer

With this in mind, we’ve agreed to prioritise the ingredients where we can exert the most influence and have the most impact.

However, given the complexity of our supply chain, we recognise that achieving our goals will take time. We therefore plan to work progressively with our suppliers towards meeting our welfare requirements by 2025.     


Collaborating with our milk suppliers

Milk and dairy ingredients are amongst the most important materials we buy. Every year we use around 62 million litres of fresh milk, 1,500 tonnes of butter and 2,800 tonnes of milk powder.

We also use a range of other dairy ingredients such as cream, yogurt, condensed milk and whey in a wide range of products such as Ambrosia rice pudding, Mr Kipling cakes and Homepride cooking sauces.

Currently, 73% of all the milk and dairy ingredients we buy are sourced from British suppliers and farmers. All the milk used in the dairy products we buy from UK suppliers comes from farms accredited to the Red Tractor Dairy Assurance Scheme.

‚ÄčThis means that animals have adequate space, safe and comfortable housing or shelter as well as unlimited access to fresh, clean drinking water and appropriately nutritious meals.

All farmers who keep livestock must keep a written health plan and medicine records so they can monitor the health of their animals and prevent them from becoming unwell.

To help drive high standards, we’re working with our liquid milk suppliers to establish monitoring and evaluation systems to improve welfare outcomes further. Specifically, we sent out a welfare questionnaire to around 550 UK farmers via our top two milk suppliers. The data received will allow us to benchmark across a number of key welfare areas, including access to pasture, transport times and housing systems, and we will report on our findings in order to demonstrate progress we are making. 

And, for the first time, we are also planning joint visits with our suppliers to a number of dairy farms throughout Summer 2017. This will allow us to establish a direct relationship with key farmers, improve our own knowledge of different production systems and also better understand the challenges they may face.

As we make progress, we’ll extend our focus to other dairy suppliers. 

Committed to cage-free eggs

We currently buy around 1,100 tonnes of egg products a year.

In 2012, we made a commitment to source only cage-free eggs for our entire business by 2017, and we were awarded a Good Egg award from Compassion in World Farming as a result.

All of our suppliers meet the the high standards set by KAT (Association for Controlled Alternative Animal Husbandry), one of the leading European certifications for hen rearing systems.

These standards limit the number of hens that can be kept in a barn and per square metre, require natural litter, sufficient perching area and nesting space. The availability of natural light must also be guaranteed.

Our suppliers are inspected by KAT to maintain their certification, and we also audit our suppliers ourselves to check that high standards of quality and welfare are achieved.

Addressing smaller ingredient groups: pork, beef, lamb and poultry

We currently use only a small amount of meat-based ingredients and extracts, mainly for our flavourings and seasonings products (e.g. beef, chicken) and some cooking sauce brands (pancetta). As we are a relatively small buyer of meat, this means we have limited influence across our supplier base.

However, around 90% of our meat is directly sourced from the UK or other European member states, which means that the animals will be protected under the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes which reflect the ‘Five Freedoms’ and/or will be from farms accredited to the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Scheme.

Although we have limited influence across our supplier base, we are looking to introduce more ‘free range’ and ‘organic’ lines as extensions to our core range. For example, we recently launched a new OXO “free range chicken” ready-to-pour stock.

Sustainably sourcing our fish

Whilst minimal in terms of quantity, all of the fish products we use (anchovy and coalfish) is wild caught. Three quarters of the fish we buy comes from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries.

We aim to increase this percentage in 2017 and have a goal of achieving 100% MSC accredited fish products by 2025 in line with our policy goals.



Case Study: Meet one of our dairy farmers
Meet Farmer Paul George of Namserrow Farm, Cornwal.

Paul provides us with the fresh milk that goes into making our creamy Ambrosia desserts. He farms Holstein Friesian Cows, famous for producing high yields of quality milk, and like all our farmers puts the welfare and happiness of his cows above all else. Paul’s cows have access to roam outside all year round, and in the Spring and Summer months enjoy grazing on lush West Country grass.
In his own words, “If we have happy and healthy cows, they’ll reward us with quality milk.” Paul-George-vt.jpg

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