Hot on the heels of our announcement about switching to 100% British bacon and lamb, last week the Co-op Agriculture and Farming team were ready to kick-off the first-ever Co-op Farming Conference in Manchester.
The conference was an opportunity to bring together the 300 farmers that make up the eight Co-op farming groups, and unite the growers, suppliers and buyers that enable us to stock our shelves with the highest quality British produce.
Given that we’ve pledged £1.5 billion investment into British sourcing over three years, the timing of this event was ideal, providing the perfect platform to underline our commitment to the UK farming industry.
During the conference, we announced the Co-op’s support of the National Farmer’s Union’s (NFU) fruit and veg pledge. Designed to cultivate long lasting relationships between retailers and growers, we’ve agreed to fulfil a number of NFU requirements including the fair treatment of our suppliers, advance planning on promotions and investment in horticultural research.
One of our longest standing meat suppliers, Jim Dobson, CEO of Dunbia, gave his thoughts on why long-term relationships are the most fruitful. Ian Prentice, Chairman of the Co-op Dairy Group, who had left his herd in Dumfriesshire for the day, went on to explain how longevity and stability has at last been returned to his industry through this ground-breaking collective partnership.
Stepping outside of the world of agriculture, Chris Boardman MBE offered conference-goers an extraordinary insight into how he went from being a shy eight year old from the Wirral to an Olympic gold medal winning, triple word-record holding cyclist. For those of you wondering, the 48 year-old attributes his overwhelming success down to a positive attitude.