Princes confirms support for British growers

L-R Stephen Francis, director from Fen Peas and Keith Costello, Princes agronomist at Long Sutton
L-R Stephen Francis, director from Fen Peas and Keith Costello, Princes agronomist at Long Sutton

Food and drink group Princes, which employs 1,073 people across its Wisbech and Long Sutton production sites, has reconfirmed its support for UK farmers by committing to buy more than 40,000 tonnes of British-grown fruit and vegetables during the coming year.

The company, which is also a major supplier of cooking oil produced from British-grown rapeseed, has signed new deals with British growers of potatoes, peas, carrots, rhubarb and beetroot.

The fruit and vegetables will be processed at the business’ Long Sutton and Wisbech-based production sites for use in branded and customer own-brand canned food.

The commitment consolidates Princes’ position as the UK’s largest supplier of canned British-grown vegetables and aims to provide added security to farmers.

The move is partly driven by the success of the Crosse & Blackwell brand which Princes relaunched last year.

The relaunched range, which includes canned soups, vegetables and cooking sauces, features a ‘Best of British’ sub-brand where all primary ingredients are British-sourced.

Six Crosse & Blackwell soups recently became the first canned soups ever to be endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Institute. The soup variants have been accredited – demonstrating the product quality and flavour - and for the next 12 months the products will have the prestigious GHI logo on pack.

Ruth Simpson, Corporate Relations Director for Princes, said: “We know from our experience with Crosse & Blackwell that consumers are keen to buy British and that the quality of the products supplied by our British farmers is extremely high.

“As a business we are committed to using British ingredients where possible and to fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers.”

The Princes Group employs more than 6,000 people globally, operates 11 manufacturing sites across the UK and is on target to achieve annual sales of £2bn.