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‘Era of cheap food is over’, Waitrose boss claims

The supermarket chain is due to reveal a new initiative to support British farmers in the move to regenerative agriculture

James Bailey, the executive director of Waitrose has told The Telegraph the “era of cheap food is over”, as the supermarket chain is due to reveal a new initiative to support British farmers in the move to regenerative agriculture. 

It is understood that the move will make the supermarket the first to outline a clear commitment across its stores to net zero, including in its meat and dairy supply chain. 

As part of its commitment, Waitrose will give farmers an assessment of how well nature is doing on their land, support them in accessing affordable financing, and create land management plans using research from the University of Reading and Leaf (Linking Environment and Farming).

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Bailey said: “I think we’re seeing the end of the era of cheap food, because of the impact of that cheap food – not just on people’s health but the external impact, the environmental impact, the societal impact of that cheap food.

“We need to witness the end of cheap food and a reversal of the value of the food people are eating.”

The announcement comes as the industry faces increasing pressure to source food more sustainably. 

In March, Tesco, Aldi and Sainsbury’s were also among more than 30 food businesses calling for government action to tackle food waste.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and anti-food waste organisation Too Good To Go led an open letter, in which Waitrose was a signatory including M&S, Lidl, that urged the government to introduce mandatory public food waste reporting.

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