Genetically modified products

Genetic modification

No Waitrose food is genetically modified - all food and ingredients are from conventional or organic crops.

Waitrose GM and soya position

We intend to stay as GM free as we can for as long as we can. We firmly believe this is what our customers want, although they are well aware of the complexities around the subject.

We fully understand that some customers would like a wider choice of produce from animals fed on a non GM diet. With that in mind, all the animals that supply our organic meat, eggs and milk are fed a non GM diet. Waitrose pioneered the sale of organic food in supermarkets and we have grown to be one of the biggest retailers of organics in Britain with more than 23% of the UK market.

In our non organic ranges, we make every effort to use non GM animal feed in close collaboration with our suppliers.

The laying hens that produce our eggs, our chicken, turkey, farmed fish and New Zealand Lamb are fed a non-GM diet. We can also guarantee that our frozen salmon, frozen New Zealand Lamb and the New Zealand lamb used in our ready meals are also fed a non-GM diet. In addition, to help ensure continued choice for our customers, we are working to source a greater amount of sustainable non-soya based animal feed from the UK.

The challenges of soya and our commitment to sustainability

Brazil is a major source of soya (soya meal is the major protein used for animal feed across the globe) but when sourcing there we must be very careful not to contribute in any way to the very real environmental problems of Amazonian deforestation. Waitrose is a signatory of the Soya moratorium (as members of the European Soya customer Group), a key initiative responsible for  driving a huge reduction in  the level of deforestation in the Amazon Biome.

Along with all other supermarkets, our other conventional livestock will have some GM soy in their feed, but for ruminants (cattle and sheep) it will only be a very small element of the feed used, as under Waitrose production standards we always insist that our cattle are grazed on pasture when available.

Our pigs will use soy in their diets but we have significantly reduced the volume included over the last decade by improvements in the overall pigs performance and by the use of alternative protein sources.

Alternatives to soya

Waitrose is participating in the Optibean project looking into the possibility of producing domestic Faba beans as a potential replacement for soybean in animal feed.

The project is being funded with support from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and will run for four years. Feeding trials are being carried out across our  pig, poultry, egg and fish supply chains.

Waitrose ruminant livestock suppliers have also obtained TSB funding for a five-year  project to develop ways of incorporating home-grown protein into feeding regimes through eight of our commercial farms.

In addition, and to help ensure continued choice for our customers, we are working to sustainably source a greater amount of non-soya raw materials from the UK.

One example is our initiative to source British grain for our pig farms from within a 50 mile radius of the mill used to manufacture the feed. This is the first such project in the UK, gives us greater autonomy in raw material sourcing and is non-GM.

Public Commitment on sourcing sustainable soya

We have publicly committed to ensuring all soya used as food ingredients and in the feed  used by our farmers for Waitrose meat, milk, poultry, egg and farmed fish products is  procured through Certified sustainable sources, including sources certified under schemes operated by RTRS and the  Pro-Terra Foundation by December 2015 .


Soya beans used in the production of our own label soya milk is already  non-GM Pro Terra Certified.

Soya meal used by farmers supplying  our chicken and eggs is already non GM Pro Terra certified which equates to 40% the total soya used in feed rations for our milk, meat, poultry, eggs and farmed fish.

We're currently exploring new non GM soy supply routes going forward including sustainable soya supply chains closer to home and other sources of protein. We’re also researching home grown protein sources to give our farmers a broader range of options for their feed regimes across all livestock, significantly reducing the need for GM soy in our supply chain.

Soya snapshot

· Waitrose is a signature of the Soya Moratorium to protect rainforests.

· We are looking at ways of reducing dependance on imported soy protein by using alternatives such as Faba beans or grain.

· We have publically committed to using certified sustainable sources for all our soy requirements.