Sainsbury’s: bakeries move complete to 100% British flour

London / UK. (js) J. Sainsbury PLC announces that all flour used in its 400 in-store bakeries is now 100 percent British – which is a year ahead of its original target. The company is the only supermarket to source all flour for its in-store bakeries from UK farms, thereby ensuring a guaranteed, traceable supply from farmers in East Anglia.

The conversion began last year in partnership with a farming co-operative called Camgrain, with whom Sainsbury´s has just extended its contract for another two years, until 2011, thereby providing Camgrain´s 300 members longer term security. Sainsbury´s is Camgrain´s sole dedicated customer for bread milling wheat, making this the first direct arable partnership of its kind between a retailer and farmers.

Now Camgrain opened the UK´s most advanced grain storage and drying facility, near Cambridge. It was planned to open in 2012 but the date was pushed forward due to accelerated demand. This is in addition to another established facility owned by Camgrain, also located nearby.

Justin King, Sainsbury´s chief executive, speaking at the opening of the new site said: «Providing customers with freshly baked bread throughout the day, using quality ingredients, is at the core of our in-store bakeries. The provenance of those ingredients is a key issue for us and our customers, and in completing our conversion to 100 percent British flour we are able to establish an efficient and traceable UK food chain which underpins our commitment to British farmers».

The direct link with Camgrain also enabled Sainsbury´s to set up the Sainsbury´s British Flour Development Group (SBFDG) in January 2008. This follows the success of similar initiatives with meat and diary farmers. The group, which comprises members of Camgrain, Openfield (the merchant), Whitworths (the miller) and Sainsbury´s, meets quarterly to share best practice and help drive efficiencies in costs, processes and environmental impact throughout the supply chain.

John Latham, wheat farmer and Camgrain chairman, added: «The relationship we have with Sainsbury´s is unique in the marketplace, and in working so closely together we have managed successfully to reach key milestones over only a short period. Through Whitworths, we are delighted to be able to deliver flour to Sainsbury´s in-store bakeries, enabling them to utilise 100% British wheat. Our growers have a real pride in what they have produced for Sainsbury´s and look forward to developing the relationships further».

The move builds on the on-going investment Sainsbury´s has been making in its in-store bakeries. The supermarket was the first to introduce specialist bakery apprenticeships in response to a shortage of people with scratch bakery skills and is planning to further increase the number of stores with in-store bakeries.
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