► ResponsibilityDrive ethical sourcing
 

We believe it is important to understand the impact of our supply chain on the environment, on animal welfare and on the people involved in supplying us a range of ingredients and finished goods. We therefore have processes and policies in place to embed and promote ethical and sustainable sourcing.

This year, we have undertaken work to identify which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) we can make an impact on and mapped them to our responsibility strategy:


Alignment to UN SDGs

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

Our KPIs

Drive sustainable raw material
  • Maintain 100% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sustainable palm oil.
  • Source 100% of Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) sustainable soya by 2025.
  • Maintain and improve high animal welfare standards, measured against the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) - a global industry animal welfare benchmark.
Drive high ethical and compliance standards across the supply chain
  • Ensure 85% of direct suppliers (by spend) are signed up to Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange platform).
  • Achieve zero red-rated Sedex supplier ratings and ensure all our procurement team has been trained on modern day slavery.
  • Drive even higher levels of Health and Safety standards across co-manufacturers, logistics sites and 'onsite' suppliers.
  • Maintain high food safety levels and compliance at all of our sites.

Drive sustainable raw material

We always aim to purchase ingredients and packaging that are certified to recognised environmental and ethical standards.



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Our membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)(1), commits us to actively support the continuation of the Roundtable process and advancing the production, procurement and use of sustainable palm oil products. We reflect our commitment to this throughout our supply chain and require all of our palm oil suppliers to sign up as a condition of supply. Since the beginning of 2010, 100% of the palm oil used by Premier Foods has been sourced, as a minimum, through the Green Palm programme and since early 2015, Premier Foods has sourced 100% certified sustainable palm oil, playing our part in helping to preserve the rainforests in South East Asia. BM TRADA, the leading independent certification body, has certified all of our sites that handle palm oil as having RSPO-approved traceability systems, which means they are capable of guaranteeing the use of palm oil from sustainable sources.

(1) License number: 4-0019-06-100-00. Check our progress at https://rspo.org/members/103/Premier-Foods- Group-Limited

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We also support the production of responsible soya bean and for this reason took the decision to become a member of the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS). Through this we can play our role in promoting zero deforestation and respecting the rights, customs, and culture of different communities and indigenous populations around the globe. Since 2016, around 60% of the small amount of soya we buy directly as an ingredient meets these standards. Of the soya we buy indirectly, the vast majority is used within animal feed and therefore sourced indirectly via our dairy, egg, meat, stocks, flavourings and seasoning supply chains. On our journey to ensure 100% of the soya we buy meets the RTRS standards by 2025, we are working with our suppliers to ensure we have complete transparency on how the soya within these indirect supply chains is cultivated.

 

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It is 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 sustainability managed forest resources. To date, 100% of our corrugated packaging is from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.

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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 that our high standards of animal welfare are met.

All our animal welfare polices and reports can be viewed here

Our Animal Welfare Policy embraces the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s stated Six Freedoms, identified to safeguard and improve the welfare of 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 - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
  6. Freedom to undergo positive experiences - by providing appropriate conditions to experience positive emotions and encourage natural behaviour.

As a business we ensure the ingredients we buy are sourced to high standards:

  • We use various assurance schemes for dairy - Red Tractor (UK), Board Bia (Ireland), Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, or Origin Green and Organic.
  • 100% of our Direct eggs are from cage-free hens
  • We have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment
  • 100% of our Direct pork from the UK is assured under Red Tractor standards.



In 2019, we have signed and agreed to the principles and policies of the Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials (FIIA). We sit on the Strategic Delivery Board of this body which brings together retailers, manufacturers, processors and foodservice companies, to promote and support responsible antimicrobial use and action on antimicrobial resistance. This means that the farmers we work with stop using antibiotics as a proactive, preventative measure and only use critically important antibiotics, as defined by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), as a last resort to safeguard their animals’ welfare where no alternative treatment option is available. For more information, please visit:
https://www.farmantibiotics.org/progress-updates/retail-foodchain



Working with our suppliers to achieve our goals

We require all suppliers supplying products of animal origin to complete a set of questions on their approach to the management of animal welfare issues, as well as performance on various criteria. As part of this process, suppliers must confirm that they comply to the Premier Foods Animal Welfare Policy.  In addition, we have incorporated animal welfare objectives into the joint business plans of our key suppliers to drive outcomes forward. In the event of non-compliance with the requirements of our animal welfare policy, our team will agree appropriate and time-bound, corrective actions with the supplier. Our supplier audit team will also arrange to visit the supplier's premises to review the process and suggest improvements in order to meet specification / animal welfare policy.  If the supplier is then still unable to comply with our policy, we will serve notice and source from an alternative supplier that can meet our requirements. 




Watch video interview of farmer Andrew Bray who supplies milk for Ambrosia


Moving up to Tier 2 in BBFAW's animal welfare ranking in 2019

Animal welfare is a key business priority for us and we measure our performance against the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW). Now in its eight year and with analysis covering 150 of the largest food companies, BBFAW is the most authoritative and comprehensive global account of the impact of corporate practice on farm animal welfare. Working with BBFAW and Compassion in World Farming, we have improved our performance this year and moved up from Tier 3 to Tier 2, with an overall score of 64 (sector average score is 35). We obtained noticeably stong scores in Management Commitments and Policy (Premier Foods score: 86 versus sector average: 49) and Reporting (Premier Foods score: 63 versus sector score average: 15). We are proud of these results and will continue working to improve our approach to farm animal welfare.

The full report is available in the BBFAW's website: www.bbfaw.com/benchmark



Drive high ethical and compliance standards across the supply chain

We have put in place processes and policies to embed and promote ethical and sustainable sourcing across our value chain.

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We continue to champion high ethical labour standards throughout our supply chain and ask all of our ingredients and packaging suppliers to become members of Sedex, a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains. This gives us visibility of their ethical performance during the regular risk assessments of our supply base and this is supported by our own Sedex Member Ethical Audits (SMETA) which includes health and safety and labour rights. By year end, 89% of direct suppliers were registered with Sedex, equating to 95% of our direct spend (excludes Knighton), therefore helping to improve our responsible and sustainable business practices, and to source responsibly.

All supplier food safety audits cover an element of ethical standards and labour practices, and where concerns are identified, we will carry out a SMETA. We assess suppliers by considering the supplier Sedex risk rating, geographic sourcing region and nature of the product supplied. Where this assessment deems it necessary to complete an ethical audit, these are carried out by a member of the compliance team or our thirdparty auditing company.

If issues of non-compliance with the standards are discovered during the audit, we will work with the supplier to ensure that they have an appropriate, time-bound corrective action plan in place. We will then conduct a follow-up audit to ensure everything is complete. Over the last 12 months we have completed six SMETA audits across our supply base.

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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.

To mitigate the risk of labour exploitation throughout our supply chain, we have established an Ethical Trading Policy, which is based around an internationally recognised code of labour practices. Each year, a copy of our Ethical Trading Policy is sent to our active suppliers, encouraging them to follow our practices. We support the Stronger Together initiative, a multi-stakeholder group of colleagues, labour providers, workers and their representatives, focused on addressing modern day slavery and thirdparty exploitation. All of our manufacturing sites were audited to support compliance with our policy, and we intend to continue to audit them regularly to maintain our focus on this important issue.

Key members of the HR and supply chain teams have received specific training on modern day slavery and trafficking, designed to raise awareness of the issues and to empower them to recognise and respond to indicators of human rights abuse within the supply chain. All new employees joining our Procurement team receive this training as part of their formal induction process.

All our Modern Day Slavery policies and statements are available to view here

 

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We take a risk-based approach to assessing and managing health and safety and have worked closely with our co-manufacturers in order to drive greater standards across our supply chain. The six audits planned in March were cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, which means that we have only been able to conduct six out of the 12 planned audits this year across our co-manufacturing suppliers. These audits identify potential risk and put in place targeted improvement plans where required, so the remaining six will be added to the list of audits planned for 2020.

To progress our work in this area even further, we have established a Best Practice in Food Manufacturing Health & Safety Forum which has been attended by more than 10 other food manufacturers, where the focus is on sharing best practices between members.

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The safety and quality of our products is of paramount importance to us. We operate a Food Safety and Quality Management System based around the British Retail Consortium Global Food Standard version 8, with all sites (excluding Charnwood Foods) audited by an independent accreditation body to this standard. All audits are unannounced, and we’re proud that this year all our sites achieved a rating of B or above, with 88% achieving A+ or AA+ ratings. We are also audited by retail customers to their specific standards where we have achieved above 80% green rated results. Our Charnwood Foods business predominantly supplies products to a single customer and so operates to their specific Quality Management System and has met their requirements.

Our internal quality compliance team focuses on controls and standards across all of our manufacturing sites, auditing to our Corporate Manufacturing Standard, supporting a range of initiatives, and driving continuous improvement quality programmes.

We conduct food safety and compliance audits on all direct supply manufacturing sites and co-manufacturers, that are measured at medium or high risk. This risk is determined by performance, assessment of the supplier’s accreditation, geographic sourcing region and nature of the product supplied. These audits are carried out by a qualified and experienced member of the Premier Foods compliance team or our third-party auditing company. All suppliers in the lower risk category are assessed through a detailed remote audit. A particular focus for the business 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 following the industry horse meat scandal of 2013. The group includes 43 members across food retail, foodservices and manufacturing, representing a very significant element of the UK food industry.

We have a targeted authenticity and safety surveillance programme in place for raw materials and have carried out circa 800 tests in the last 12 months. 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.