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Our pursuit for excellence in food extends to how we source and procure our ingredients.

As the UK’s leading manufacturer of fresh prepared foods and with a growing presence in the USA and China, a responsible supply chain of ingredients is essential.

We source over 5,000 different ingredients from around the world and have a responsibility to ensure the traceability of our food through all stages of production, processing and distribution.

Beyond this, a sustainable supply chain is a resilient supply chain. Therefore, we have set a Responsible Sourcing model that focuses on four key areas:

Human rights and people

We ensure our suppliers follow the same high principles as we do, including customer requirements (such as the Ethical Trading Initiative’s base code, the UN Guiding Principles, etc.) and compliance with all legal requirements (e.g. the UK’s Human Rights and Modern Slavery acts).

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Human rights and people

Raw material integrity

We work with our suppliers to prevent food fraud (i.e. substitution and adulteration). This ensures the right materials come into our business from trusted suppliers.

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Raw material integrity

Environmental sustainability

We work to reducing the environmental impacts of our food across the food value chain. We evaluate our biggest environmental sustainability risks in our supply chain, identifying the ‘hotspots’ and working collaboratively with suppliers on action plans.

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Environmental sustainability

Threats and vulnerability

We assess our suppliers to ensure we have a robust supplier base, where suppliers are like-minded, want to grow with us and can invest in growth. They must deliver outstanding customer service, at the right quality, with the right capabilities and demonstrate that material availability isn’t a risk.

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Threats and vulnerability

Responsible Sourcing Model

To deliver against our model, our Responsible Sourcing Steering team formed of multidisciplinary experts from HR, procurement and technical teams meet regularly to monitor progress.

We visit and audit suppliers to ensure compliance, but also work collaboratively to provide training, build their own capacity to manage sustainability risks and share best practice in a pre-competitive environment.

View More in our latest Annual Report.

Policies & Downloads

  • Human rights
  • Human rights
  • Sustainable sourcing
  • Ingredient traceability and integrity

Human rights

We recognise our role in monitoring and safeguarding the human rights of people across our business and wider supply chain.

To produce a wide range of fresh prepared food for major retailers, Bakkavor directly sources over 5,000 ingredients from over 740 suppliers in 50 countries – from small farmers to multi-national operators. They, in turn, work with thousands of their own suppliers who grow and move hundreds of raw materials across global supply chains.

Great tasting and quality ingredients that make for exciting and nutritious meals are important, but never at the expense of the wellbeing of the people that produce them. That’s why the human rights of workers across the food value chain are a top priority.

We have specific policies and procedures for ensuring the wellbeing of the people that we employ but we also have a responsibility to use our influence to uphold standards in our supply chain.

Human rights in our supply chain

Underpinning our Responsible Sourcing Model, the highest standards of ethics and integrity are at the heart of Bakkavor’s core values. We take a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of modern slavery and forced or trafficked labour and enforce these principles with our supply base through regular, open and two-way dialogue.

The complexity of the global food supply chain means that a risk-based approach to human rights is essential. We have conducted a comprehensive human rights risk assessment of our own supply chain. We are also an active member of Sedex, which we promote it as a tool with our suppliers and customers in identifying potential issues and assessing where positive changes can be made. We require all our suppliers to be registered on Sedex as a condition of doing business with us.

We are also founder members of the Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET), a collaboration between suppliers and retailers. One of the aims of FNET is to deliver a consistent approach to the process of risk assessment. Bakkavor uses the risk assessment tool to assess the risk profile of all ingredients, and we have been active in review and updating the tool based on our increased understanding.

Having a strong understanding of risks is, of course, not enough on its own. Bakkavor understands that we must clearly communicate our expectations around human rights with our suppliers, and work with them to ensure they are upheld.

In 2018 we held our first UK supplier conference to explain, inform and build knowledge around our approach to Responsible Sourcing, specifically; human rights, food fraud and the environment, the collective risk and responsibility from field to fork and how to approach the management of these risks.

To implement this human rights management in practice, we work closely with suppliers in specific sectors and regions where we identify areas of higher risk. For example, we have implemented specific projects in the poultry sector in Thailand and in the fresh produce sector in Italy. More around these projects can be read in our 2019 Modern Slavery Statement.

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Sustainable sourcing

Environmental sustainability is one of the four pillars of our Responsible Sourcing Model and relates specifically to the impacts of the more than 5,000 ingredients that we source from around 50 countries on water, land and air.

Main content We recognise our responsibility to reduce the impacts of the products that we source on the environment to ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of our supply chain. In practice this means taking a risk-based approach to identify ‘hotspots’ in terms of ingredients and regions that face specific challenges. We can then use this to take concrete action by working collaboratively with suppliers on action plans.

We evaluate the regions that we source from based on challenges related to water scarcity and pollution as well as agricultural impacts on ecosystems and climate change. Then we can prioritise our areas and issues to take action on based on where we have greatest influence and strategic importance to our business. For example, we have conducted a water risk assessment for our fresh produce in Spain, using the WRI’s Aqueduct mapping tool.

For some ingredients, pursuing sustainability certifications and standards may be the most effective option to signal market demand for environmentally responsible agriculture. We work closely with our retailer customers to source commodities to specific standards such as palm oil to RSPO certification.

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Ingredient traceability and integrity

Our passion for food is core to our business. This extends to ensuring that our customers and consumers can trust our food.

Trust and traceability are critical values in how we approach our ingredient sourcing and we work constantly to ensure that our end products can be consumed with confidence.

We benefit from close relationships with strategic suppliers, based on a mutual understanding of our expectations and clear communication around challenges. Nevertheless, some ingredients or products have more complex supply chains or are more challenging to procure directly.

To this end, we work with our suppliers to prevent ‘food fraud’ – where raw materials can be substituted and/or adulterated. This ensures the right materials come into our business from trusted suppliers.

It’s important that the industry works collaboratively on this topic and as such, we are members of the Food Industry Intelligence Network (fiin). This collaborative project supports information sharing and horizon scanning around food traceability, surfaces risks and promotes best practice action.

We assess our supply chain risk based on potential impact on our business and use the information to target our approach on testing materials or to conduct routine trace exercises and audits within our supply base. Where we find issues or inconsistencies, we work with the supplier to take rapid action and implement a solution, with regular follow ups, and use the learning to monitor similar supply chains.

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