Waitrose event where @WaitroseFarmers Instagram was promoted

@WaitroseFarmers: Waitrose opens up access to farmers on Instagram

UK grocer Waitrose has launched an @WaitroseFarmers Instagram page, as part of efforts to shine a light on good practice throughout its food supply chain.

Farmers from across the UK who supply the supermarket chain are being encouraged to share photos and videos of their work via the page to help give consumers a closer look at where their food is coming from and the associated animal welfare standards.

Waitrose has opted to increase transparency in its food supply chain through social media with the understanding the modern consumer is more conscious about food provenance.

The retailer is also proud of winning the Compassion in World Farming’s (CIWF) Best Retailer Award on four separate occasions, and it is keen to highlight its best practice in this space. CIWF campaigns to end all factory farming practices and exists to promote farming systems that are safer, fairer, and greener.

The @WaitroseFarmers page launch comes in the build-up to ‘Back British Farming Day’ – 13 September – and Waitrose is expecting to champion its farmers across all its social media channels during this time. It has also dedicated an entire issue of its in-house publication, Waitrose Weekend, to its British farmers.

Jemima Jewell, head of agriculture & responsible sourcing at Waitrose parent group the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), told Green Retail World: “At Waitrose we’re really proud of our long-term partnerships with our farmers – they are the ones who work hard day-in, day-out, to produce amazing food for our customers.

“We know that more and more people really care about where their food comes from, and how it’s produced – and the @WaitroseFarmers Instagram account is a really down-to-earth account of how the magic happens. Customers expect transparency, and we want to give them that – the content is produced directly by our farmers, who we know and trust.”

The Instagram page currently features Michael and Matthew – free-range pig farmers from Norfolk – as well as Leighton Snelgrove, who works on an organic beef farm in Sussex. Followers of the page can also tap into the latest news from Grace, who works with her parents on their third-generation dairy farm that supplies Waitrose milk.

The type of story Instagram users might hear about include Grace’s day-to-day life looking after 350 dairy cows and 400 young stock across 600 acres of farm land. Yegabomb Julie, the only Jersey X Holstein Freisian in the herd, who was born in lockdown, may also feature on Grace’s updates, according to Waitrose.

Reflecting on the new Instagram page, Snelgrove told this publication: “We’ve been working with Waitrose for years to together provide the best standards of animal welfare.

“Customers are more and more interested in where their food comes from, so as well as on pack and in store messaging, we are now sharing the work we do, through the seasons, day in, day out. The @WaitroseFarmers Instagram channel opens up topical subjects, such as the effect of climate change on biodiversity at farms across the UK and what we are doing to work in harmony with nature.”

Waitrose has big plans to continue the initial momentum around the page, which at the time of writing had surpassed 2,000 followers.

Jewell said Instagram users can expect to see more content about how farmers care for the animals they’re raising, how they support wildlife, and what they do to protect the soil their plants grow in.

“Plus we’re looking to expand into more seasonal stories, so that customers can really relate to what’s in their shopping baskets – think strawberries at Wimbledon and pumpkins at Halloween,” she added.

“We might even see some snippets from our overseas suppliers, for example from our Waitrose Foundation farms, where we invest some of the retail sales price back to support worker livelihoods.”

Read more about the JLP’s sustainability strategy on Green Retail World

[Image credit: Green Retail World]

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