Heather Jenkins, director for buying for meat, poultry, fish, frozen and dairy at Waitrose, received the award – the first time it has been made to a retailer.
Presenting the award at the House of Lords yesterday (November 7), Mick Sloyan, chief executive of BPEX, said: “Heather’s support for British pig farming at times of severe volatility of input costs and finished pig prices has been a stabilising influence at times of uncertainty.”
In accepting the award, Jenkins congratulated the UK pig meat sector for its resilience and entrepreneurial spirit. However, she also called for a radical overhaul of the UK’s pig meat supply chain to ensure it prospered in the future.
“There is no doubt in my mind that innovation has to play a significant part in giving consumers what they want and a more viable sector for this industry,” said Jenkins.
“I would encourage those who want to encourage a long-term prosperous pig sector to think about a step change that needs to take place now. While culture, strategy and leadership are all catalysts for sustainable change, to my mind the main ingredient is farmers.”
She added that farmers needed to work together in a way that had not been done before “to shape the future, building more robust supply chains, encouraging investment at farm level and fostering confidence for the long term”.
Meanwhile, Tesco announced today (November 8) that it would work directly with UK beef and pig farmers in a new deal worth £25M a year.