Waitrose wins top accolades at Compassion in World Farming Awards

Waitrose has won big at Compassion in World Farming’s latest Awards picking up the Best Retailer Award for farm animal welfare for the fourth consecutive time, as well as the Best Retailer Innovation Award for its pioneering work to develop a groundbreaking animal welfare app.

Developed by a crack team of scientists at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) App is the first tech of its kind, specifically created for the purpose of measuring the emotional wellbeing of farmed animals and fish.

By assessing the expressive body language of ‘how’ animals behave (for example enthusiastic / active or flat / stressed), the QBA App is designed to continually improve their quality of life and has been rolled out across the Waitrose supply chain. Once fully tested by Waitrose, the App - which also recently won a prestigious BBC Food & Farming Award for its innovative design - will be made accessible to other companies for the future benefit of all animals.

Waitrose has also been awarded Best Retailer in Europe for the fourth consecutive year, highlighting its commitment to doing what is right for animals and for customers.

Jemima Jewell, Agriculture & Responsible Sourcing Lead, Waitrose, exclaimed, “We are absolutely delighted to have once again received these awards, particularly to have held onto our status as a leading supermarket in animal welfare since 2004 and winner of the Best Retailer Award four consecutive times in a row.”

'It takes enormous passion, commitment and hard work to achieve the high standards we've maintained for the past 30 years. This is unquestionably a direct result of the longstanding and close relationships we've built with our farmers over multiple decades and without their loyalty and dedication, these accolades would simply not be possible.'

Professor Francoise Wemelsfelder, Senior Researcher, Scotland’s Rural College, said, “This award is a fantastic recognition of Waitrose’s pioneering work in making farm animals’ emotional well-being a key aspect of managing animal welfare standards. It has been enjoyable, interesting and productive to collaborate with their supply chains in developing and testing the app, and see their high animal welfare standards at work.

“I would also like to thank the teams at SRUC and BioSS as well as the app developers, Medayo, who have made this wonderful app possible.”

Dr Tracey Jones, Global Director of Food Business at Compassion, said, “Waitrose has worked extremely hard to retain their market leading position on animal welfare and we are delighted to recognise them with both Best Retailer and Best Retailer Innovation Award this year.

“Their ‘Life Worth Living’ project which includes Qualitative Behavioural Assessment demonstrates a genuine desire by Waitrose to better understand the mental state of animals in their supply chain. Their user-friendly QBA App, which is being rolled out and used across their entire supply chain, will enable Waitrose to continue to improve their systems so that the animals can lead the best lives they can, and its development is to be commended.”

The winner of the Best Retailer Award is determined through Compassion’s biennial Supermarket Survey. Retailers are scored based on their answers to questions detailing their policies, rearing conditions of the animals and the measurement of key welfare indicators. Retailers are benchmarked anonymously against their industry peers using the highest and lowest percentage scores for each area of performance to maintain confidentiality.

The Best Retailer Innovation Award is presented to the retailer that provides the best example of a successful project or innovation that has delivered measurable benefits to the lives of farm animals, as part of their Supermarket Survey submission. Winners’ submissions are assessed by a panel of judges and are each awarded points for specific parameters which include the severity of the welfare issue addressed, the potential scale of the impact of the innovation, as well as the level of involvement from the retailer.