Working in partnership

One of the most important ways we are making progress in sourcing is working more closely with our suppliers, farmers and growers, both in the UK and overseas. Just some of our partnerships and initiatives are explained here:

  • Working in Partnership with our Farmers and Growers
  • Researching in Partnership
  • Working with our Farmers and Growers to ensure we are all fit for the future
  • Sainsbury’s Apprentices and Scholars
  • Knowledge Sharing through our Development and Grower Groups
  • Sainsbury’s Technical Management Academy®

Working in Partnership with our Farmers and Growers

We have farmer and grower development groups covering our main agriculture and horticulture value chains and have invested £30 million in these groups since 2006, whilst generating a saving to farmers of over £10 million.

The groups enable us to work in partnership with our farmers helping them become more resilient, sustainable and profitable whilst producing great quality meat, dairy, poultry and produce reared or grown in the way our customers would expect.

Meeting regularly with the Sainsbury’s team, the groups give our farmers a voice and a place to discuss challenges and opportunities together so we can come up with solutions that work for everyone “farm to fork”. Examples of this include our milk pricing model, our soil workshops and our collaborative research and development programme.

Researching in Partnership

Since the first round of our Agriculture Research and Development grants was launched in December 2012, we have worked in partnership with farmers, suppliers, scientists and industry experts, investing over £18m into research projects across our crop and livestock agricultural supply chains.

We work collaboratively with scientific experts and our farmers and suppliers across a number of research and development projects. These projects are awarded against three major priorities, in line with our company vision and values:

  • Improvement in soil, plant and animal health and welfare
  • Improvement in efficiencies and cost effectiveness
  • Development of new products or processes which help to improve quality, taste and freshness

Many of our projects span more than one of these priorities, as the interlinked nature of farming means that, for example, improvements in animal health and welfare can also lead to improved product quality, farm performance and efficiency – and vice versa. Our farmers and growers are our partners, so investing in their business benefits us too.

Our customers also see the benefits of our research and development. We’ve worked with our lamb farmers to maximise the British lamb season and increase availability, with our growers to extend the British strawberry season, and with our egg farmers feeding hens an enriched diet to produce free range eggs which are naturally rich in long-chain Omega 3.

Working with our Farmers and Growers to ensure we are all fit for the future

Food and farming is worth over £100bn per year to the UK economy supporting one in eight jobs and it is becoming even more important due to increasing global demand for food coupled with a decrease in the world’s natural resources. We are working with our suppliers and farmers to build resilient value chains ensuring long term security, sustainability and efficiency in food production, farm to fork. To achieve this, we need talented and dedicated young people to become the next generation of experienced farmers and growers in our value chains and also to work with our more experienced farmers to help them be at the forefront of new developments.

Sainsbury’s Apprentices and Scholars

Sainsbury’s Farming Scholarship is an 18 month programme, run in conjunction with Imperial College, that enables farmers and growers that supply Sainsbury’s to explore a common theme critical to the future success of their businesses and UK agriculture. The group share learnings from their own experiences, visit recognised leaders in the subject being studied, have mentor support from experts in the area of study and gain an understanding of the science underpinning the theme, from Imperial College; before completing a study project.

Together with Reaseheath College we offer a unique Apprenticeship Scheme aimed specifically at our Horticulture and Agriculture value chains. The scheme involves some of our most progressive suppliers and farmers, many using the latest innovations and technology in the sector.

Knowledge Sharing through our Development and Grower Groups

We facilitate training and access to industry experts, e.g. vets for our Development Group Farmers. Examples include water quality workshops for our poultry farmers, calf care workshops for our dairy farmers and soil health workshops for our beef farmers.

Sainsbury’s Technical Management Academy® was created to partner our suppliers with Sainsbury’s colleagues and industry experts to provide professional development and create a network to share experience, best practice and latest research, in order to improve knowledge within our supply base.


we have trained over 4000 suppliers and colleagues via Sainsbury’s Technical Management Academy® since 2006

Since 2006 we have increased the range of topics covered in line with supplier feedback and to match the pace of change in the food industry. Subjects include allergen management and risk assessment; packaging master class; quality management; food safety management; Ethical trade; and agency labour and prevention of worker exploitation.

Sainsbury’s Innovation and Development Academy® is run for suppliers and colleagues who create a new product. Covering topics such as how to design in Quality and Health into the development of a product ensures that the finished product meets the customer expectations for healthy, tasty food at the quality they would expect.

Sainsbury’s Brand Suppliers will find more information and can book onto a workshop by visiting: