UK retailer M&S swaps soy feed in milk supply chain with ‘high performing’ alternatives

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/nanoqfu
© GettyImages/nanoqfu

Related tags M&S retailer RTRS Soy rapeseed oil

Leading UK retailer, M&S, said it has now eliminated soy from the production of all its milk as part of its commitment to end deforestation.

The supermarket has worked with the 44 British farmers it sources RSPCA Assured milk from for its milk pool. Through those collaborative efforts, the producers have replaced soy feed with alternatives such as rapeseed oil and sugar beet, which M&S maintains avoids nearly 4,000 tons of soy being used each year.

Soy diversification program

Paul Willgoss, director of technology, M&S Food, said the retailer's priority as a business is to eliminate deforestation from the production of its products and to get there, it is looking at both reducing its reliance on soy and finding more responsible ways of sourcing it.  

M&S, thus, has a strong focus on diversification of feed from soy, with it evaluating alternative proteins and different feed formulations. It outlined how it is also a member of the Feed Compass​, an initiative championing such work.

It is planning to do more in this area over the coming months.

Total soy tonnage used

In 2019, M&S used approximately 70,000 tons of soy in animal feed broken down as the following: 

Poultry:​ 36,000 tons 

Pork: ​16,000 tons

Dairy: ​8,000 ton 

Eggs:​ 4,500 tons 

Seafood: ​2,000 tons 

Beef, Lamb & other​: 2,700 tons 

Supporting credit system

The supermarket chains says it has also been actively engaging with NGOs and the wider industry in groups such as the UK Round Table on Responsible Soy​ and the Consumer Goods Forum​.

It also highlighted how it is working with monogastric and farmed fish suppliers on moving from a credit-based system through to a physical supply of deforestation-free soy over the next few years. To cover the soy used in other proteins such as beef and lamb it purchases RTRS credits and, in 2019, it purchased 25,000 certificates.

Its aims is to ensure 100% of the soy used for its products is sourced through approved or recognized sustainable soy schemes, including those backed by RTRS and Proterra, by the end of 2020.

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