Waitrose was the first supermarket to stock 100 percent British beef exclusively, and it is taking a step further by pledging to sell more British beef from as many as 20 native breeds that originate in the UK.
The move will apply to our beef range, including pre-packed products in the meat aisle, Butchery Counters, ready meals, sandwiches, stocks and gravies.
The new breeds will come via the retailer's exclusive beef provider, Dovecote Park, including Red Ruby, Belted Galloway, and Welsh Black. Like the Hereford and Aberdeen Angus beef Waitrose already stock, all have been selected for specific traits, whether its great taste or benefits to the environment.
Each native breed has also been hand-picked for its quality and taste credentials - giving Waitrose's customers access to a wider variety of choices, including 'restaurant quality' beef in its number one range.
The range offers excellent value, too, with all animals (including our entry-level Essentials beef) farmed to the same quality and higher welfare standards, helping customers adopt less but better meat-eating habits that provide a more nutritionally balanced diet.
Jimmy Doherty, TV presenter, Rare Breed Farmer and former President of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, said it was brilliant to see Waitrose embracing the rich array of native beef breeds available to us in the UK.
Doherty continued that these exceptional heritage breeds offer a unique culinary experience thanks to the exceptional quality of the meat. It also brings many other benefits, including greater flexibility for farmers to breed the cattle most suited to their land, bringing many associated environmental and animal welfare benefits.
"Many of our native breeds are at a genuine risk of extinction, so I commend Waitrose for its move to help safeguard the incredible diversity of breeds that are part of our national heritage and would encourage other retailers to follow suit," said Doherty.
Oliver Chadwyck-Healey, the Waitrose beef buyer, said the retailer was deeply committed to British farming and offering the highest welfare standards and exceptional quality.
"By diversifying our beef range and sourcing more from native breeds, we can support our farmers by providing them greater flexibility. It also means we can offer our customers exceptionally high quality, higher welfare beef at great value when we know both price and animal welfare are so important to them," said Chadwyck-Healey.