Weetabix is working closely with local farmers to keep production going for the nation’s favourite cereal during COVID-19.
As part of its commitment to its Growers Group, Weetabix is committed to sourcing all wheat for Weetabix Original from within 50 miles of its Burton Latimer mill. Weetabix has seen high demand for its products in recent weeks and is working closely with its farming partners to ensure they continue to safely deliver food to the nation.
Hitesh Bhatia, Strategic Sourcing Manager at Weetabix, said: “We’re very proud to use the high-quality wheat from local farmers within 50 miles of our site in every bowl of Weetabix, supporting the British farming industry. We have been working closely with our group of around 350 approved growers to ensure they are able to safely maintain their operations. Responsible production is a core focus for us, and our farming community is a core foundation of our sustainability commitments.
Working closely with our Growers Group allows us to reduce food miles and fertiliser usage, as well as giving consumers consistent quality and complete transparency of where their food has come from.” Jonni Henson, Grain Trader at Frontier Agriculture Ltd, said: “We have started to see the effect of extremely high demand for product throughout March. Our farmer partners until now have been relatively unaffected – their work is outdoors and usually with fewer workers, social distancing is a little easier to adhere to. “Weetabix is a truly cooperative partner, which helps to streamline the process and ensures both farmers and hauliers can be flexible during this time. This flexible, open relationship means that when the company requires extra wheat, which we’re expecting in the coming months, both we and our suppliers are happy to oblige. “Our Growers Group farmers often comment that they are proud to buy the iconic ‘yellow box’ Weetabix in store, knowing that their involvement from the ‘grain to bowl’ has been a truly collaborative one. Equally, I find it a great privilege to have the partnership with such an iconic brand. “For all suppliers and food companies, transparency of what’s required in the long term is key and Weetabix excel at this. Particularly during this time of uncertainty, if we can continue to work together and have constant communication, we will ensure the nation can continue to enjoy its favourite breakfast.”
Jonathan Lane, Head of Grain Trading at ADM Agriculture Ltd, added: “We work as the link between Weetabix and the farming suppliers who make up the Growers Group, ensuring that Weetabix receive the right quality wheat in a responsible way. The wheat that Weetabix is currently using in production is from the 2019 harvest, kept in Red Tractor-approved stores, so there haven’t been any issues with wheat levels, even with high demand for product in recent weeks. While we have faced some challenges from a logistical and delivery perspective as a result of COVID-19, our farming network is still working as normal, so we’re not expecting any demand issues looking ahead.
“The team at Weetabix is one of the few food manufacturers that take the time to directly engage with its farmers, helping them to produce high-quality wheat in a sustainable way for the local environment and also giving back value to farmers via its wheat protocol initiatives. “Weetabix’s Wheat Protocol pushes beyond the requirements of Red Tractor Assurance and Entry Level Environmental Stewardship schemes to further reduce food miles and fertiliser usage, as well as supporting on environmental stewardship initiatives such as planting hedgerows and wider field margins to sustain local wildlife.”