Waitrose Way awards 2015

The voting has now closed for the supplier who you think is doing the most to change for the better the impact their company is having on both people and the environment. Read the shortlist below, and we'll publish the results soon!

Samworth Brothers

Samworth BrothersTreating people fairly (own label)

Four generations of the Samworth family have been involved in the running of this UK manufacturing company, which owns 16 businesses supplying chilled products, such as sandwiches, pork pies, meat pies and desserts.

Why has it won?
Every two years, the company organises a gruelling triathlon-style event to raise money for local and national charities. Known as the Samworth Brothers Charity Challenge, it has donated £1.5 million since its launch in 2007. This year, around 400 brave employees took part in the fitness challenge, which combined a mountain bike ride, orienteering walk and canoe race. The company also runs a sports opportunity fund, which supports young people’s sporting activities and funds local clubs, while also expanding the company’s commitment to employee and community volunteering.

Wealmoor

WealmoorChampioning British (own label)

Established in 1973, Wealmoor originally imported exotic produce from developing countries. Since 2002, it has worked with UK growers to supply speciality vegetables, such as baby courgettes and carrots, Tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and chillies.

Why has it won? 
For more than 10 years, Wealmoor has been flying the flag for British produce, increasing its UK suppliers from three in 2007 to 68 today. By drawing on experience producing speciality vegetables overseas, it has been able to give British growing communities a boost. This includes setting up exchange visits between farmers from different countries. Its Kenyan partners, for instance, worked with local British teams to establish a state-of-the-art packing centre at its base in Atherstone, Warwickshire. This factory also helped rejuvenate the local economy, employing more than 400 people.

Alpro

Alpro Living well (branded)

Founded in 1980, Alpro makes plantbased alternatives to milk, cream, yogurt, custard and desserts by using non-GM soya beans, almonds, hazelnuts, rice and oats.

Why has it won? 
Thanks to Alpro’s commitment to tasty food and drink, we are slowly changing our diet to include more plant-based food and less animal products. Today, one in four households regularly buys plant-based food, and Alpro products are sold throughout Waitrose. After working with nutritionists, the company set its mission to encourage us all to move to a diet based on two-thirds plant and one third animal-based products. Producing a soya drink uses two and a half times less water, three times less land and creates five times less CO2 than the equivalent dairy product. By educating consumers and developing innovative products, Alpro is helping people move towards a sustainable future.

Melton Foods

Melton FoodsLiving well (own label)

Based in Leicestershire, Melton Foods produces high-end sandwiches, toasties and panninis for major UK retailers.

Why has it won? 
The company has found clever ways of steering its customers towards healthy eating choices. Since 2014, it has shaved off 15,357,933 calories across the Waitrose Good To Go range. This has been achieved by finding alternative ingredients with fewer calories but still packed with flavour, while controlling portion sizes. For instance, it uses a lower fat mayonnaise instead of a premium rich and creamy mayonnaise with no compromise on flavour. The company’s employees are on-message, too. Once a week, they are invited to boost their fitness and sports skills at boot camp training sessions, while healthier food has been introduced into the canteen.

Hughes Mushrooms

Hughes MushroomsCarbon reduction (own label)

This third-generation company is the oldest and largest British-owned mushroom supplier. It processes 220,000kg of fresh mushrooms every week at its factory in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Why has it won? 
Mushroom production is energy intensive. Fridges are needed to keep the mushrooms fresh, and hot water is required for washing the crates and growing yards. In 2010 the company set itself a goal of reducing its overall CO2 production by a third. Five years on, it is down by 47.7%

Produce World

Produce WorldFood waste (own label)

One of the largest suppliers of fresh produce in the UK, this Cambridgeshire-based company has been selling vegetables since 1898.

Why has it won? 
It is partnered with food charities Feedback and FareShare. Gleaning, championed by Feedback, is a term for redirecting waste vegetables from the field. Local volunteers recover edible crops and distribute them to those in need. Since 2013, the company’s commitment to gleaning has led to 117,000 portions of veg being donated to good causes.

Reckitt Benckiser

Reckitt BenckiserTreating people fairly (branded)

Operating in more than 60 countries, this multinational health and hygiene company owns well-known brands such as Dettol and Finish. It is based in the UK, but employs 37,000 people worldwide.

Why has it won? 
The company has been working in partnership with Save The Children to prevent and treat diarrhoea among children in the developing world. Diarrhoea kills around two children every minute, making it one of the leading causes of death in the under-fives. By reinvesting profits from the sales of its products, the company has so far raised £23 million towards programmes in India, Pakistan and Nigeria, of which £3.25m was raised last year by its employees. Its hand-washing programme has reached 17,000 schools in India since 2006. As well as promoting behavioural changes, the company has developed innovative products targeting diarrhoea, including a toilet powder to help reduce the spread of infection from pit latrines.

Wyke Farms

Wyke FarmsCarbon reduction (branded)

Established in 1861, this family business is the largest independent Cheddar maker in the UK.

Why has it won? 
Wyke’s anaerobic digester produces renewable energy from farm waste. Combined with solar panels on the milking unit roofs, which provides electricity to cool milk and build ice stories, the company covers all its gas and electric needs, putting any surplus back into the grid.

PepsiCo UK

PepsiCo UKFood waste (branded)

PepsiCo is the second largest food and drink business in the world. In the UK, its team is 5,000 strong, spread across 13 UK sites. Its product range includes Walkers, Tropicana, Quaker and Pepsi Max.

Why has it won? 
Admirably, PepsiCo UK has sent nothing to landfill from any of its 13 sites since 2011. By appointing conservation teams, who work with plant sustainability managers, it has focused on tracking and analysing every last kilogram of waste to eliminate it or find a non-landfill destination. PepsiCo has also reduced its product waste by 30%, while collaborating with a wide range of partner organisations to find joint solutions to reducing food waste throughout the supply chain.

Silver Spoon

Silver SpoonChampioning British (branded)

Formed in 1994, this British Sugar sister company sells home-baking ingredients and ice cream accompaniments, as well as sugar.

Why has it won? 
Silver Spoon sugar is a truly British product, grown on its sugar beets farms in East Anglia and processed 28 miles away. Once sugar has been extracted, it’s just another 200 yards to the packaging plant. As well as impressing on the food miles front, waste is turned into animal feed, or sold as stones and top soil. Edible food waste is given to food charity FareShare. In a creative example of collaboration, a neighbouring tomato grower reuses waste carbon dioxide and heat from its factory to extend the growing season of British tomatoes and shrink the carbon footprint of both companies.