Sustainability at Bidfood

Our vision is to be the best wholesale foodservice provider and a positive force for change because we care about our…

People

Planet

Customers

Communities

Principles

We invest in and care for our people, attract future talent and continue to be recognised as a great place to work.

Fair pay

89% of our employees are paid above Living Wage Foundation (LWF) rates. Our employee data shows that employees whose pay falls below this threshold have their pay significantly boosted by variable pay which is excluded from LWF calculations. We assess pay against LWF requirements annually and aim to put a plan in place to bridge the gap between employee pay and LWF rates.

Rewarding responsible leadership

In recognition of our commitment to a triple bottom line approach to business, balancing the need for profit with the wider needs of people and planet, we are looking at aligning elements of remuneration against ESG objectives. We see this as a key way in which we can embed sustainable and responsible practices into the daily operation of our business.

Performance and talent

We offer a wide selection of development solutions and support to unlock the potential of our people, these continue to be refined to ensure they remain stretching whilst driving personal performance and growth. We are developing career pathways that we recognise are important for attracting and retaining talent across all our business areas.  We have launched our external proposition with our new branding and applicant tracking system making it easier to attract the best talent for our business.

Apprenticeships and job creation

An apprenticeship provides a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop while you’re working and earning, giving you the opportunity to apply your new skills within your role. We have developed a pathway of around 40 apprenticeships for internal teams to consider, covering a variety of different functions and at all levels. Recognising the need to attract talent, we are also undertaking initiatives to attract around 30 externally recruited apprentices to join our business in various roles this year. Read more here.

Diversity and inclusion

At Bidfood, we believe our people are our greatest asset. We are committed to providing equal opportunities across our workforce, and treating our people with fairness and respect. Whilst we have more work to do, we are committed to working with our teams to make sure Bidfood is an inclusive place to work.

Health and wellbeing

At Bidfood, we recognise that the only way to achieve our vision is to have great people who are healthy, happy and motivated to be at their best and thrive in a business that truly cares. That’s why we have developed a health and wellbeing strategy that focuses on and drives the importance of wellbeing for all employees. We are incredibly proud to have won the Health and Wellbeing category at the Employee Experience Awards and the Best HR Initiative category at the Food and Drink Federation Awards throughout 2023.

Sustainability Coordinators

We have refreshed and relaunched our sustainability coordinator programme which is made up of employees across our network of depots working together in People and Planet Teams to improve sustainability at a local level.

Our Sustainability Coordinators organise fundraising activities, encourage food waste reduction and recycling activities, look for changes they can make at the depots to be more environmentally friendly and share information with the teams and other employees.

Employee charity volunteering

We are really pleased to have recently launched an employee volunteering scheme which allows employees to take a day of paid leave each year to volunteer with a charity of their choice. This initiative helps to bring to life our corporate vision of being a positive force for change and enables our employees to demonstrate the care value by giving something back to our communities.

Measuring employee engagement

We want our employees to feel engaged, valued, and have a sense of purpose and belonging at work. Our annual employee engagement survey gives us indicators of how they feel. Our 2024 survey showed that 88% care about the future of our company, 81% are proud to say they work for Bidfood and 84% want to still be working here in 12 months’ time.

We play our part in the climate crisis by acting on emissions, plastics and waste.

2045 net zero carbon target

We’ve mapped our carbon footprint across all scopes (1, 2 and 3) and our intended emissions reduction trajectory includes both medium and long term targets. These align with max 1.5°C warming for scopes 1 and 2, and well below 2°C for Scope 3. Our ambition is to have reduced absolute carbon emissions by at least 90% by 2045, with the residual offset, which is a science-based approach toward achieving net zero.  To see how we’re progressing with carbon reduction, please have a look at our latest  sustainability report. Download a copy of our carbon reduction plan here.

Food waste reduction

Food waste is a moral, environmental and commercial problem, so we’re glad to play our part by being very active in this area. As signatories of WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, our target is to reduce food waste by 63% between 2020 and 2030. In the 2022 calendar year, we increased our food redistribution percentage to charities and decreased the percentage to anaerobic digestion, vs. 2021 data. In 2022, 0.24% of total food handled was unsold. 28% of this was redistributed to food banks and charities, 2% to animal feed, 63% to anaerobic digestion, 6% incinerated, with less than 0.1% to landfill. For resources and advice on reducing your food waste, discover more from our Unlock Your Menu campaign.

Waste reduction

We aim to achieve recycling rates of over 85%; we report on this annually in our sustainability report, alongside our Scope 3 emissions generated from waste. In 2021 we also started reporting on our EFW (Energy from Waste) percentage.

Water

Water is a precious and threatened global resource, so we are supporters of WRAP’s Water Roadmap, which means we aim to minimise UK water consumption as well as supporting initiatives in food supply chains that aim to address water scarcity issues. In 2020 we helped fund research into water scarcity issues in Southern Spain.

Carbon emissions in food supply chains

Understanding the carbon impacts of our food choices is so important, as food production accounts for approximately a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. We are part of a WRAP working group which aims to standardise how food emissions are measured and reported across the food industry, to help drive progress toward better information for food buyers and consumers. We are working on developing a solution for product level carbon data for our customers.

Reducing plastic

We are aligned to the UK Plastics Pact and as part of this we have multiple commitments and targets in place to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our packaging, as well as improve its recyclability. For example, we have removed PVC and Polystyrene from our range of packaging products and are making all own brand ready meal tray packaging widely recyclable by 2024. For a full list of targets please click here.

Plastic pallet wrap reduction

Plastic shrink wrap remains a considerable driver of plastic consumption in the delivered foodservice sector, despite attempts to find alternatives. We’ve been working on reducing our pallet wrap consumption, and have reduced our pallet wrap per item picked down to 1.62g per item picked, which represents a 9% reduction in two years. We report on this annually in our sustainability report and continue to reduce it further still. Once this consignment of cages is fully integrated into our network, there will be 13,500 4-sided cages out of a total of roughly 25,000, which means that over half of our cages delivered to customers will require zero pallet wrap, which is a great step forward in reducing our plastics impact.

Product policies

We have a number of product policies in place to support our customers’ sustainable sourcing objectives (e.g. palm oil, soya, plastics, sustainable fish, ethical trading etc.) – please see the Customers tab for more info.

Listen to our podcast!

If you’re looking for further advice on how you can reduce your carbon emissions, we have a number of podcasts to help you get started. Click here to listen to Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality and Kristen Filice, Director of Zero Carbon Forum talk through how hospitality businesses can reduce their carbon emissions. For top tips on starting to become Net Zero, listen to episode 1 and episode 2 of our making the journey to net zero podcasts with Julie Owst, Head of Sustainability and Change at Bidfood and Anne Simonnet, Head of Sustainability and Compliance at Foodbuy.

We support customers by sourcing responsibly, protecting workers' rights and offering healthier and sustainable choices.

Responsible sourcing

We carry out an annual review of our own brand product sustainability policies to make sure Bidfood keeps up to date with latest regulations and technology. We ensure consistency with industry best practice whilst always having customer requirements in mind to recognise and address any gaps. Our Healthy and Sustainable Working Group meet quarterly to discuss these areas to ensure progress is being made towards any objectives which have been agreed. Click here to find out more

Improving our range of Catering Supplies

We have set targets to improve the sustainability of the packaging products we sell which includes eliminating problematic single-use packaging and improving the recyclability of products. We are also reviewing our hygiene and equipment ranges to review what sustainability improvements we can make in these categories. For full details of all the targets and steps we are taking to achieve these, please click here.

Bidfood legislative support - Natasha's Law

Nutrition

Bidfood supports customers to make healthy and sustainable options by providing guidance and expertise on key issues. Recently we have created a guide to calorie labelling, including a calorie and nutrient calculator on our webshop Bidfood Direct, reformulated our products to reduce the amount of salt and sugar in them, and provided advice and resources on Natasha’s Law. Read more about our work on nutrition here.

Sustainable seafood

At Bidfood, all of our own brand fish and seafood is fully traceable and we purchase all fish using ratings provided in the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Good Fish Guide. We require our suppliers to source farmed seafood that has been independently certified to GSSI (Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative) standards. On top of this, we’re a member of the Sustainable Seafood Partnership (SSC) and stock both MSC and ASC certified products. Please click here for further details.

Products with ethical and sustainable elements

Alongside working on our product policies, we also aim to stock a range of products which meet sustainability criteria, whether this is by products meeting animal welfare and organic assurance schemes, or by being provided by a BCorp accredited supplier which has committed to aligning the needs of people and planet alongside profit. Read more about these products here.

Catering for allergens

Check out our blog on three key considerations to have in mind when managing allergens in your kitchen.

If you have any questions on the allergen information of a specific product, our Advice Centre will be happy to help.

Sustainability scoring certificate

We’re certified as ‘Bronze’ by EcoVadis, for our sustainability progress. This places us among the top 35 percent of companies assessed by EcoVadis, and we’re working to improve this score further still. It means our customers can trust what we say, and we can share our scorecard transparently with all customers.

Soya policy case study

In late 2021, we became increasingly aware that we needed a policy on sustainable soya. Read our case study on the development of a sustainable soya policy, covering the challenges we faced, key learnings and what we strive to do in future. We hope others will benefit from these insights, as we aim to be a positive force for change.

We improve health and employability outcomes for people in our communities.

Supporting charities

We work in close collaboration with many charities which have been chosen for their fantastic work with young people and support of the hospitality sector. In addition to this our teams around the country support many other charities in a wide range of categories from small local charities to international NGO’s. You can find out more about our corporate charities here.

Promoting healthy eating for children

We understand the importance of providing children with delicious and nutritious meals – we believe learning starts with good food. We regularly run campaigns and activities to help promote healthy eating and support organisations with creative ideas to do so.

Recently we have been lobbying politicians to encourage them to increase funding for school meals so that schools have the funds they need to provide the best food for our children. Listen to our podcast on this here.

Tackling holiday hunger

We have dedicated campaigns focused on reducing holiday hunger which not only involve raising awareness, but also donating food and volunteering at holiday clubs. We support Hertfordshire Catering Limited (HCL) with their ‘Fit, Fed and Read’ campaign which involves donating provisions for under privileged families during the school holidays. We also work with CaterEd to support families in Devon with food donations which create meals to serve to families, and we donate food to ‘Give Help Share,’ a charity based in Hertfordshire covering Camden and Barnet which supplies families with food provisions. We continue to partner with FareShare who distribute surplus food to those who need it most which includes supporting holiday lunch clubs. Our development chefs have also volunteered at clubs to cook nutritious meals from the donated food as well as provide advice to families on how to cook on a budget and make food go further.

Supporting employee volunteering

We are really pleased to have recently launched an employee volunteering scheme which allows employees to take a day of paid leave each year to volunteer with a charity of their choice. This initiative helps to bring to life our corporate vision of being a positive force for change and enables our employees to demonstrate the care value by giving something back to our communities.

Food donation schemes

We have been working with FareShare since 2016 to redistribute our surplus food to good causes across the UK. In 2022, the food we donated to FareShare helped over 1700 organisations equating to 181,837 meals. This food provide meals for organisations that support people on low or no income, children, homeless people, elderly people and people with mental health conditions. Our depots also support local food banks and donate food to animal sanctuaries.

Toilet twinning

We support Toilet Twinning – a charity that supports communities in developing countries with better sanitation. For every £60 donated to www.toilettwinning.org the organisation supports communities to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene. We have a goal to twin all of our toilets across all of our depots in the UK and currently have 66 twinned.

Apprenticeship levy

As well as promoting apprenticeships as a development tool and progression opportunity internally within Bidfood, we also use apprenticeships to support recruitment and attract talent into the business. We are exploring ways to utilise our apprenticeship levy to support corporate charity partners, customers and suppliers to run training within their own organisations. If you are one of these organisations and feel you may benefit from this support please do get in touch.

Supporting Ukrainian refugees

From April 2022 we have been supporting Hope4, who are working in Moldova to provide shelter and safety for displaced Ukrainian refugees. To date, we’ve donated over £400,000 worth of food, with more shipments planned in the future. Supplies feed the refugee families currently sheltered in Moldova. We also secured a £3k grant for Hope4 via the Royal Warrant Holders’ Charity Fund, which we match funded to reach £6k. This will fund the employment of a nutritionist to help Hope4 meet the nutritional needs of those dependent on longer term food aid.

Empowering girls and women

We’re a corporate supporter of Catalyse Change, an organisation that recognises that girls and young women are under-represented in leadership roles. Their aim is to inspire and equip women with the confidence, skills and mentors they need to make a positive difference. They proactively help young women who require bursaries to participate, and this is possible thanks to corporate sponsors.

We run our business on core principles that are based on strong ethics and leadership, robust data security and clear communication.

Robust control environment

We are committed to the highest standard of corporate governance and have in all material respects applied the King Code of Governance Principles (King IV). Our corporate governance policies are aligned with the King IV governance outcomes namely ethical culture, effective control, legitimacy, and good performance. The Risk and Assurance Group is appointed to assist the Board in its oversight of the company’s risk and assurance structure.

Fair payment of tax

We commit to act responsibly in relation to our taxation affairs, to fulfil our compliance and disclosure obligations, and to operate in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations. We aim to ensure that we pay the right and proper amount of taxation. We manage taxation in line with our governance framework and procedures; taxation strategy, activities are documented and reported on a regular basis.

better business act logo 2

Better Business Act member

We are a signatory of the Better Business Coalition, which campaigns for an amendment in Section 172 of the Companies Act, which aim at a fairer, greener future for all. It would oblige every single company in the UK to take ownership of its social and environmental impacts. Read more here.

Modern slavery risk management

We’re committed to putting effective systems and controls in place to safeguard against any form of modern slavery within our business or our supply chains. We have robust People policies and standards in place to ensure compliance with legislation and fundamental rights at work. As of April 2023, 87% of our own brand suppliers are connected on SEDEX, the focus over the coming weeks to get connections to 95%.

ESG reporting framework

We report progress against our initiatives and KPIs in our annual sustainability report. In addition to this, we incorporated reporting aligned to the SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) within the BFS Group Annual Report for the first time in 2023, and will continue to do so.

Environmental claims

As a trusted supplier partner to our customers, we’ve been training our marketing and customer-facing teams on the Green Claims Code, to make sure our environmental and sustainability claims are fair, accurate and meaningful, so that our customers can trust what we say. Our Head of Sustainability, Julie Owst, delivered a webinar in January 2023 which over 100 of our marketing, sales and customer facing employees attended. To find out more about the Green Claims Code, click here.

Latest updates

  • Latest updates

Latest updates

  • We're adding a new member to all our depots - a box to recycle old workwear! We're excited to pilot this nationwide initiative with Safpro, our workwear providers, to promote a more circular economy.
  • We were highly commended for our work with gradually eliminating pallet wrap around caged deliveries (Sustainable use of natural resources award)
  • We’re delighted to say that our Head of Sustainability has won the Cold Chain Federation's award for Climate Champion.
  • We are thrilled to have won the HR Initiative award at the FDF Awards for our health and wellbeing work!
  • We have donated the equivalent of 1 million meals to FareShare UK to re-distribute surplus food.
  • We successfully secured a £3K grant for Hope4, this will be matched by us to employ a nutritionist in Moldova to support war refugees.
  • We've launched a volunteering scheme so employees can take a day of paid leave annually to volunteer with a charity.
  • Solar panels have been installed at Worthing, Paddock Wood, Nottingham, Salisbury and Liverpool.

Is Bidfood UK sustainable?

In line with the Green Claims Code, we don’t claim that our organisation is environmentally sustainable in absolute terms as, although we have targets and strategies in place to decrease our environmental impact, our current sizeable carbon footprint would be one reason as to why we wouldn’t claim this status. Industrial food production has many adverse effects on our ecosystem, so we have policies in place for our own brand food to try and decrease these impacts.

These policies are just one part of our aspiration to be a positive force for change in our industry, which you can read more about here: Positive force for change | sustainability – Bidfood UK

How does Bidfood UK source sustainable products?

We have various sourcing policies in place for our own brand products, to drive up sustainability standards for foodservice, from palm oil to soya, animal welfare, eggs, fish and more. More information can be found here: Responsible sourcing | Bidfood UK

However, in line with the Green Claims Code, we don’t claim any of our products are ‘sustainable’ in absolute terms, as making this claim would require us to have absolute knowledge of the entire product lifecycle, from the farmland used to cultivate food, right through to the end of life (waste) phase of the packaging, as well as the social impacts in its production. We prefer to talk about ‘sustainable elements’ but wouldn’t call products ‘sustainable’ in absolute terms.

What is Bidfood UK doing to reduce plastic usage?

We use plastic in many ways. For food packaging of own brand products, we’re aligned to the objectives of the Plastics Pact, so we work on increasing the recyclability and recycled content of our packaging, as well as eliminating non-recyclable plastics from our own brand ranges. We also use plastic wrap as transit packaging on pallets and around a proportion of our cages, and work on decreasing this year-on-year.

We report on our progress against all these targets in our annual sustainability report, available here. Our catering supplies team also support our customers with non-plastic alternatives for food-to-go consumables.

What are Bidfood UK's sustainability goals for the future?

All our objectives and progress are outlined in our annual sustainability report, covering our activities relating to planet, people, communities, customers and principles. The target of most interest to many of our customers is our net-zero target. We’ve aligned with max 1.5°C global warming for scopes 1 and 2, and well below 2°C​​​​​​​ for Scope 3. Our ambition is to have reduced absolute carbon emissions by at least 90% by 2045, with the residual offset, which is a science-based approach toward achieving net zero.

Our baseline was set in 2019, and by 2032 we aim to reduce both Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 55% and Scope 3 emissions by 32%. By 2045, we aim to have reduced Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions by at least 90%, with the residual emissions offset to achieve net zero.

What does Bidfood UK do to minimise food waste?

Bidfood works proactively to reduce food waste at many different stages in the supply chain, ranging from supplier-facing initiatives prior to ordering, to minimising waste whilst food is in our warehouses, and sharing best practice with customers to help minimise their waste. We’re part of WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and report our progress in food waste reduction annually, via both WRAP’s reporting mechanisms and in our annual sustainability report.

We’re also proud to be named as one of FareShare’s Leading Food Partners for the third year running, as we divert good food that would otherwise go to waste to FareShare (as well as many other charities and community groups). We also promote Guardians of Grub, WRAP’s food waste reduction toolkit. And we share food waste reduction messages with our employees as part of Food Waste Action Week to help drive awareness of this important topic.

What industry charities do Bidfood support?

In addition to our local teams supporting many charities around the country, we are also proud to work in close collaboration with charities who do amazing work in our industry. Read more about this here: Corporate charities | Bidfood.

How does Bidfood care about their employees?

Bidfood offers a wide range of additional support to help with every aspect of our employees’ career and personal journey whilst at work. Not only do we make health and safety a priority by providing the right equipment and resources to protect everyone, we also believe in the importance of everyone feeling healthy and happy at work too.

Our vision is ‘to have a positive impact on our people by being committed to their wellbeing, helping both them and our business to be at their best’ and in order to this, we go the extra mile through supportive people policies, providing access to toolkits, guides and wellbeing solutions to support all aspects of financial, physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. We also have an interactive flexible benefits platform where employees can choose their own benefits package for healthcare, pension and even book a day off for volunteering.

We also care about our employee’s ongoing development and encourage people to take control of their own learning through career development pathways, apprenticeships and we provide access to a wealth of information, skills and training on our e-learning platform too.

We are proud of our reputation for having the #BestTeam and we achieve this because we truly care about every employee both in and outside of work.

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