Waitrose pledges further support to pig farmers facing major crisis

Waitrose has strengthened its emergency support package to help all of its pig farmers during a time of national crisis.

The move comes amid growing concerns about the UK pig sector which is facing the biggest crisis in a generation with falling prices impacting its financial sustainability.

We will be extending our pledge to pay a fair and sustainable, minimum price for pork to all of our dedicated farmers - even if prices continue to fall.

Jake Pickering, Senior Agriculture Manager for Waitrose, explains: “We need to support our farmers before it’s too late to save their bacon. They kept food on our tables through the pandemic, and we need to help them through their tough times too.

“By guaranteeing a base price for pork, we’re protecting farmers for the months ahead and allowing them to plan for a long-term, sustainable future.”

The move extends our previous commitment. Initially announced in November 2021, we agreed to review the pledge on a regular basis. By agreeing to extend it today, we remain the only UK supermarket to support the sector through direct payments to farmers.

Details of the support were shared at a pig crisis summit, chaired by the The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), last Thurday, 10 February.

Bringing together leading retailers - including Waitrose - alongside the National Pig Association (NPA), National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and leading pork processors, the meeting sought to find long-term solutions for the problem.

Rob Mutimer, pig producer and NPA Chair said: “We welcome Waitrose’s continued support of the British pig industry. The commitment made shows that there is a huge amount retailers can do in terms of the price and promotion of British pork; only with their support can we plan for a sustainable future for our industry.”

The commitment will not detract from our promise to provide great value for customers, and the pledge won’t affect the price of products, or our leading welfare standards.

It’s estimated that at least half of the 700 million pigs worldwide are intensively farmed - meaning they’re housed indoors, in often overcrowded sheds.

Bucking the trend, we were the first UK supermarket to promise that all piglets would be born outside with fresh air, and individual straw-bedded huts for shelter. As a result, we have retained Compassion in World Farming’s Good Pig Award for animal welfare since 2012.

Jake Pickering added: “We’re urging other competitors to follow our lead, committing to 100% British pork and supporting farmers when it matters most.”