The recent appointment of Anil Alim as ‘Procurement and Supply Chain Director’ by Westbury Street Holdings – the owner of catering operations including… BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe and benugo – encouraged Hospitality and Catering News to probe deeper into the policies that drive sustainability at Westbury and underpin Anil’s new role.
In announcing the arrival of Anil Alim to this position, Alastair Storey, Chief Executive of Westbury Street Holdings, stated, ‘Sustainable procurement and the excellent relationships that we have with our supply partners are at the heart of our business.’
Hospitality and Catering News, naturally, wanted to know more, and is delighted that Anil Alim readily agreed to answer our questions as he joins Westbury.
Suppliers that have not adopted sustainable policies read carefully…The business benefits for those that have are made very clear.
What exactly is your supply chain strategy?
BaxterStorey has adopted a market leading approach to providing locally sourced produce of the highest quality & lowest environmental impact to our chefs & managers at a competitive price. At the same time our strategy recognises that the individual demands of each unit with regard to specification & delivery thereby exceed the expectations for fresh produce from our customers & clients.
BaxterStorey is renowned across the industry for its operational integrity which is based on long term, mutually collaborative agreements with its suppliers. Most of our suppliers have been supplying us for over 7 years & we believe in actively supporting regional fresh produce suppliers across the UK to bring the freshest innovations to market while ensuring a fair margin for them.
Our chefs work directly with suppliers to ensure products and distribution meets their needs in providing first class service to our customers.
Our collaborative relationships with our suppliers deliver real benefits in providing the highest service standards and support for chefs relevant to each client. Our supplier agreements ensure that our premier partners deliver real innovation to our units, and the freshest of produce arrives with the lowest number of road miles to deliver it.
In practical terms, how do you minimise environmental impact?
As a responsible large scale purchaser in the foodservice industry, BaxterStorey understands the importance of seeking products from sustainable sources and continues to look to reduce the environmental impact of its demands. To this end, we are committed to sourcing all fresh produce from producers in the UK that are part of accreditation schemes such as Red Tractor, EBLEX, Welsh Lamb, Lion brand.
We continue to develop a policy for sourcing fish that meets and exceeds the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) requirements for sustainability of fish stocks. We do not purchase any fish species on the IUCN Red List of Endangered species.
Since 2008, we have excluded all sub-species of shark from supply to our kitchens and following a recent full review of our supply chain for fresh, frozen and canned product, Blue Fin tuna has been excluded from our business. Our fresh / frozen product is Yellow Fin tuna and canned product is Skipjack tuna. Both species are listed in Marine Conservation Society Fish on Line web site (http://www.fishonline.org/advice/eat/ ) with a 2 rating – fished at sustainable levels.
Our policy is to purchase all fresh meat from producers in the British Isles; we actively work with the MLC (Meat & Livestock Commission, now superseded by separate farm assured authorities such as EBLEX for Beef and Lamb, ABpigs for pork and ACP for poultry) to ensure that the highest levels of hygiene and production methods are achieved on a consistent basis. This policy includes the way the animals are reared and ensures that the feed given to animals does not contain any animal meat or bone meal, a practice that has been banned in the UK since August 1996.
The 7.5million eggs that the company uses annually are free range and come from chickens reared in accordance with the RSPCA Freedom Farm standards. Sourcing from a single family owned farm – Staveley’s Eggs in Lancashire – allows us to provide our chefs with the highest quality ingredients while offering us full traceability. The move to totally free range eggs in October 2010 precedes new EU legislation which is scheduled to come into force across Europe in 2012 banning the production of eggs using chickens kept in battery cages and makes us the only caterer of our scale to have committed to egg procurement in this fashion.
We source fair-trade coffee which is Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association accredited from which the grounds are given away as fertiliser and we use and compost bio-degradable disposables.
What about cleaning products, and waste?
We have worked with a supplier to develop an organic 100% biodegradable hand wash and hard surface cleaner, & continue to actively seek to further reduce the impact of chemical and other waste products in our units through reduction & recycling. Waste at our business and industry sites is currently the responsibility of the clients we operate within, although we offer them the option to use our waste recycling supplier, who successfully converts waste to green electricity.
What processes do you use for supplier selection?
Our supplier selection processes are focussed on the following core elements:
- Suppliers fully audited by an independent 3rd party for legislative compliance for the category of products they deliver prior to approval to supply any unit.
- Full traceability back to source with a 24 hour reporting capability on high risk food products.
- Local distribution capability thereby ensuring minimum carbon footprint.
- Where product availability allows, commodities are sourced from UK producers rather than global sourcing in order to deliver real environmental benefits and improved quality by reducing the time from “gate to plate”.
- Suppliers are also selected for their environmental management systems being continually improved in order to deliver continuous improvement through the supply chain.
How do you ensure quality standards are maintained?
We constantly monitor the quality of the food products and actively seek feedback from our catering managers and chefs regarding the quality and suitability of the foods available. Our Executive Development Chefs review new products with our operations teams and also the methods of production to ensure optimum quality of all produce and meals at the point of sale.
Although at odds to the standard foodservice practice of distributing low cost overseas produce through a central distribution system, we believe that our policy delivers improved menu quality to our customers while delivering real reductions in food miles & environmental impact. Finally, it demonstrates a visible investment in corporate social responsibility by ensuring our UK suppliers and producers are treated in an ethical fair manner.
Policy regarding genetic modification (GM)?
BaxterStorey is committed not to intentionally using food or food ingredients that have undergone genetic modification. As a company we are committed to working with our suppliers, to ensure ingredient awareness, many of whom are assuring us of their “GM Free” attitude. These include fresh meat, fresh vegetables, frozen foods, beverages, fresh bread, dairy products, etc.
Finally, what do you see as your priority?
My role is to make sure that as we grow, as a business, these basic principles aren’t compromised in any way, as this is what makes us successful and delivers our business with a clear position in the market place. The challenge I have is to ensure all our supply base understand these principles and work to these standards as a minimum.
Hospitality and Catering News would like to thank Anil for his insight of Westbury Street Holdings procurement policy in relation to sustainability.