* indicates required

Food giant renews its ‘buy local’ commitment to farmers

The announcement coincided with a visit from the Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss to a local farm that supplies Weetabix.

Weetabix will exclusively source wheat for its biscuits from local wheat merchants Gleadell and Fengrain. This year’s will be the sixth harvest since the establishment of Weetabix’s industry leading “wheat protocol” in 2010.

The protocol covers a series of commitments to guarantee the quality of the wholegrain wheat and to ensure the protection of the local environment.

The company says the arrangement helps local farmers to invest in higher standards, provides Weetabix with wheat of a consistent quality for British breakfast bowls, and providing Weetabix with a consistent quality of wheat for its mills.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Every food and farming business can play a role in making British food a world leader and Weetabix is a fantastic example of the vision, creativity and innovation that has built the UK’s global reputation for quality, tradition and safety.

“As part of 2016 Year of Great British Food we want more companies like Weetabix creating top-quality products using locally grown ingredients and supporting farmers across the country and helping grow our One Nation economy.”

Weetabix is the second largest player in the UK cereal market, which is valued at £2 billion annually. After talks with its Growers Group, a council of local farmers, Weetabix has agreed a series of commitments to ensure the safety, local provenance, quality and traceability of the wheat it uses.

Ingredient purchasing manager Hitesh Bhatia said: “Reviewing our wheat protocol in partnership with our farmers will allow us to continue to guarantee a best in class breakfast for the British public.”

NFU combinable crops chairman Mike Hambly said: “Backing British farming has never been so important and it is great to see that Weetabix are developing this commitment with local farmers. 

"Farmers need this support if their businesses are to continue contributing so positively to the country’s economy and environment.”

Farmer Robert Rouston, whose farm in Leicestershire supplies wheat to Weetabix, said: “To grow wheat for Weetabix is a local badge of honour. This year we have over 500 tonnes growing well, and I know the quality of my wheat will be reflected in every spoonful enjoyed at British breakfast tables.

“This will be my fifth harvest with Weetabix and I have noticed a real improvement in the wildlife I see as I walk my fields.

"We don’t own the land, we’re merely stewards for the next generation, and with Weetabix’s support I am confident for the future of the British countryside.”

Weetabix has committed £10 million to a TV and digital advertising campaign, its largest marketing investment since 2008. The company is reporting year on year growth of 6%, expanding its share of the market and helping to protect the livelihoods of British farmers. 

More from Bedford: