Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced it is to introduce 30 million bees to 28 UK farms used to source food for its Select Farm range.
The British bee introduction will take place across the country, from Herefordshire to Hampshire, as part of an initiative to protect the future of these food-supply-chain-critical pollinators, with the aim of improving the quality of M&S fresh produce in the process.
M&S, which launched its Plan A sustainability programme in 2007, well before greener/environmental strategies were commonplace, said the journey of its bee programme can be tracked via an interactive blog on its official website. The ‘Bee Blog’ will give regular updates from the farms, fed through from the retailer’s expert beekeeper, David Wainwright.
Wainwright has been producing honey for M&S for more than ten years, and this summer he’ll be harvesting a unique crop for the company.
“Having worked with M&S for many years I’m really pleased they’ve taken the initiative to begin this pioneering campaign, which will have such a positive impact on the environment,” he commented.
“Each Select Farm we’re working with is unique and its produce will benefit the bees, which in turn will ensure the farmers get greater yields on their crops and produce better-quality food for customers due to the thorough pollination the bees provide. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The bee programme is part of a new five-year ‘Farming with Nature’ initiative to support M&S’s Select Farmers to become more resilient to the biggest environmental challenges they face – such as climate change, biodiversity, diminishing soil health, and water usage.
Over the next four months, consumers will hear about this and other M&S environmental and farming support, via a ‘Fresh Market Update’ multichannel marketing campaign.
The ads will go behind the scenes at M&S Select Farms, showcasing the work of farmers in the retailer’s farm chain. A total of 73 different ads are scheduled to run, all fronted by ITV’s Weather presenter Lucy Verasamy. The ads also include M&S chef Chris Baber who will aim to inspire customers with seasonal recipes.
This month M&S will also be expanding its RSPCA Assured range, including all fresh eggs, pork, farmed salmon and farmed trout, Oakham Gold chicken and milk.
Stuart Machin, managing director of M&S Food, commented: “We only work with farmers and growers that we know and trust to source our products with the upmost care.
“I’m incredibly proud that we’ve raised the bar yet again for 2021, with an industry-leading bee programme, boosting biodiversity on our Select Farms and the introduction of the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market.”
(Image credit: Green Retail World]