Headquartered in Redhill, Surrey, Winterbotham Darby was founded in 1962, with manufacturing sites in Clitheroe and Bicester.
As the leading supplier and manufacturer of chilled olives and antipasti, continental charcuterie and plant-based foods to UK supermarkets and foodservice, Winterbotham Darby work with a myriad of producers and processors in Europe and beyond, including over 500 farms and 350 olive/vegetable growers.
Having joined the Authenticate platform over ten years ago, we spoke to Technical Director David Houghton about how using the platform has been instrumental in validating their objectives around animal welfare, responsible sourcing and sustainability.
“We’re using the Authenticate platform to capture data right through the supply chain, whether from manufacturing, primary processing or indeed right back to farmer and grower.”
“For example, now we’re using the platform to capture antibiotic usage with all our farmers as we’ve got a clear plan in place in terms of antibiotic reduction. Using the platform gives us an edge as we’re able to capture data and manage antibiotic usage per batch of pigs.
In terms of the data we capture with our olive growers or vegetable growers for our antipasti, we’re using the platform to monitor pesticide usage, water reduction strategies, and we’re using that with the agronomists we work with to manage growers, to encourage best practice and to deliver on the strategy we’ve agreed.”
“In terms of the positive features of the platform, the first thing is that it’s cloud-based and its accessible right back through the supply chain, so we use it on a day to day basis within our business but its accessible for our manufacturers, primary processors or indeed agronomists or vets access the system at source.
Secondly, as Winterbotham Darby have made the capital investment in the system, for new farmers or growers to join the platform is relatively inexpensive, which is important for us as sometimes cost can be a barrier to entry, and in our case we’ve taken that barrier out.”
“The platform has become part of our day-to-day operation and indeed helps us when we’re in front of a customer. In a recent example I was presenting to a top four supermarket recently, and we were challenged around how we managed our supply chain, so during the meeting I was able to access the platform and show to the customer the supply chain right back to source and how we manage that, and immediately the customer was reassured and had confidence that we had the transparency that we talk about.”
“In terms of the tangible outcomes, there’s been many. A recent example was the work we’ve been doing with Compassion in World Farming. We used the platform to validate and demonstrate that the initiatives we’re undertaking with our animal welfare are happening in practice, and that’s helped us as we were the first producer/supplier in Europe to win the Good Pig Award from Compassion in World Farming 2016.
We’re really proud that in 2017 we won two further Good Pig Awards from compassion, and it’s the data we capture and how we manage that data within the platform, and we’re able to translate and manage that data to validate and prove that we’re meeting the requirements set down by the award.”
“At Winterbotham Darby, we have a modern day slavery statement and we believe we’ve gone beyond the industry norms in how we manage those risks within our supply chain.
For example, we’ve taken SEDEX down to tier 2 within our organisation, and by using the platform we’ve implemented a bespoke system for managing the risks with our farmers and growers, and with using the platform we capture that data for every single grower that we’re working with.”
“We’re using the platform to ensure compliance to industry standard, for example the platform has a link to the BRC database so we can ensure all partners within our supply chain are maintaining their BRC status, which is a prerequisite for own-label supply in the UK.”
“Our objective by using the platform is to engineer into our supply chains at the start improvements to farm animal welfare and our sustainability model, rather than trying to retrospectively reengineer these challenges into the supply chain. We now use the platform as day to day operation and what the platform has enabled us to do as a business is to manage those risks in a complex supply chain.”
“Animal welfare is really important to us as a business and we’ve just recently conducted some research and consumers do tell us this. Of 52% of consumers we interviewed, animal welfare is really important to them. We use the platform to manage and monitor our compliance in the supply chain against our animal welfare objectives.
For example, every quarter, on each of our farms a vet will go in and conduct an inspection, and the results of those inspections are immediately put onto the platform. So we can see in almost real time how our different supply chains and different farms are operating.”
“We set clear KPI objectives against each of these measures so we can see across Europe how our farms are performing. We’re also using the platform to capture all our farm assessments with our growers, and lastly we’re using the platform to manage our ethical risk through our bespoke assessment tool.”
“We’ve got a great relationship with Authenticate. We support each other because what we’re doing is at the forefront of transparency, animal welfare and our sustainability model.
We would recommend the Authenticate platform to other food businesses. As a starting point, it’s really user friendly. The platform is accessed up and down our supply chain by vets, agronomists, producers and they all find it easy to use. Also we’ve even given access to some of our clients so they’ve got complete transparency of our supply chains right back to source.”