Genetically modified products

Genetic modification

No Waitrose food is genetically modified - all food and ingredients are from conventional or organic crops. Our internal systems and external verification platforms track the use of soya as ingredients in own label products to ensure they come from a non GM source.

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.

Waitrose production standards for ruminants require cattle are grazed on pasture when available. Our dairy cows are able to enjoy outside pasture for at least 100 days a year, find out more the Waitrose Media Centre >

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.


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 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.WWF and others have also highlighted the devastating impact that global soy production is having on the Cerrado savannah in Brazil and other high biodiversity value regions. We will work with stakeholders in the soy supply chain to ensure sourcing of soy from production on land with high conservation value (HCV) and high carbon stock is avoided.

We are members of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS) a global platform with members from across the soy supply chain committed to promoting responsible sourcing of soy. We have submitted our annual progress report and purchased RTRS soya credits each year since 2012. 

Find out more at The Round Table on Responsible Soy >

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  ProTerra Foundation by 2020. This time bound commitment is aligned with that of the Consumer Goods Forum and the Retailer Soya Group of which we are members.



Soya beans used in the production of our own label soya drink are ProTerra Certified.

Soya meal used by farmers supplying our chicken & eggs is already ProTerra certified which equates to over  60% of the total soya used in feed rations for our milk, meat, poultry, eggs and farmed fish.


Alternatives to soya

Waitrose has participated in a 4-year Innovate UK funded Optibean project looking into the possibility of producing domestic Faba beans as a potential replacement for soybean in animal feed. 

Read the report here >                                                                                                      

Successful feeding trials have been carried out across our  pig, poultry, egg and fish supply chains.                                                                        

Waitrose ruminant livestock suppliers have also obtained Innovate UK funding for a 5-year project to develop ways of incorporating home-grown protein into feeding regimes through eight of our commercial farms.

Find out more at Sustainable Forage Protein >

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.

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 soy in our supply chain.

We are participants in the Protein Challenge 2040 collaborative platform involving a consortium of organisations convened by ‘ Forum for the Future’ looking at how we balance supply and demand of protein for a growing population in a way which is affordable, healthy and good for the environment. Exploring alternate protein sources in animal and aquaculture feed is one of the work stream the consortium is actively pursuing.

Explore more at the Forum for the future >


Soya snapshot

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

· We are looking at ways of reducing dependence 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.