M&S is expanding its RSPCA Assured range to offer, it said, more products assured under the high welfare scheme than any other retailer.
The announcement covers all M&S’s pork, as well as fresh eggs, farmed salmon and trout, Oakham Gold chicken and milk.
The retailer has launched a new four-month ‘Fresh Market Update’ customer campaign, showcasing ‘the lengths its Select Farm partners go to deliver exceptional quality M&S Food’.
M&S said its Select Farms quality means M&S it works with farmers, growers and producers it knows and trusts to source its products with care – whether that’s the highest animal welfare standards or protecting the natural environment.
RSPCA Assured is the only farm assurance scheme in the UK dedicated purely to farm animal welfare, with specially trained professionals carrying out annual assessments and spot checks. The welfare standards which cover health, diet, environment, and animal care
Joe Bailey, head of farming at RSPCA Assured, said: “We’re delighted that M&S is leading the way in committing to stocking the widest range of RSPCA Assured products of any UK retailer. We know customers recognise and trust the RSPCA Assured logo and standards and it helps them to make better choices on their weekly shop.”
M&S has also started a new five year ‘Farming with Nature’ collaborative programme to support its Select Farmers to become more resilient to the biggest environmental challenges they face – spanning climate change, biodiversity, soil health and water usage.
As part of this and to support the British bee population, it is introducing 30 million bees to 28 UK Select Farm Sites this summer located across the country, from Herefordshire to Hampshire.
M&S said it was hoping the initiative will help protect the future of these critically important pollinators and will improve the quality of its fresh produce for customers. The ‘Bee Blog’ on M&s’s website will give regular updates from the farms, fed through from its expert beekeeper David Wainwright.
Stuart Machin, managing director of M&S Food said: “We only work with farmers and growers that we know and trust to source our products with the upmost care.
I’m incredibly proud that we’ve raised the bar yet again for 2021, with an industry-leading bee programme, boosting biodiversity on our Select Farms and the introduction of the biggest range of RSPCA Assured products on the market.”
Fresh Market update
The new TV and multimedia campaign will be the retailer’s biggest ever quality campaign and takes customers behind the scenes at its Select Farms, showcasing the work of M&S’ Select farmers up and down the UK.
A total of 19 ads will run across the four-month campaign. Each week M&S will introduce viewers to a different farmer. Customers will hear directly from the farmers about the lengths they go to deliver Select Farms quality, with each ad presented by ITV’s Weather Presenter Lucy Verasamy.
M&S said the campaign would reach over 60% of the population throughout its run, ‘highlighting not just M&S’s industry leading standards and quality, but also its great value for a weekly shop’. Customers will also see ‘vibrant in store displays and newly designed packaging to dial up the provenance, quality, and sourcing credentials of our food’.
For more information, see: www.marksandspencer.com/freshmarketupdate
Farming with nature
M&s’s new ‘Farming with Nature’ programme is designed to help its farmers become more resilient to the biggest environmental challenges faced by UK farmers – spanning climate change, biodiversity, soil health and water usage.
The five-year programme will provide farmers with industry-relevant, specialist support and tools to help them to become more sustainable and deliver measurable improvements to their businesses, while encouraging the uptake of nature-friendly farming practices.
M&S has established 17 Indicator and Innovation Farms across the UK, spanning pork, fresh produce, dairy, beef, lamb, turkey, chicken and eggs.
The farms will be supported by M&S-funded specialist industry partners from The Wildlife Trusts, the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and FERA.
The farms will be trialling new ways of ‘farming in harmony with nature and measuring environmental improvements and benefits over time’, including testing of novel measurements like E-DNA and Remote sensing approaches – to provide farmers with new insight into the biodiversity on their farms.
Learnings from these farms will be shared through knowledge transfer activity and farm events with other M&S Select Farmers and the wider industry.