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Waitrose Ramps Up Product Innovation For Summer

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This summer, UK retailer Waitrose & Partners will launch over 145 private brand products into its seasonal Scrumptious Summer food and drink selection. 

The range will welcome over 70 new additions, 17 existing products will be given a revamp with improved recipes, and customer favorites from summer 2019 will make a return to form this year’s summer offer.

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Scrumptious Summer focuses on innovative dishes, featuring nostalgic flavors and classic recipes that are given a modern twist. New arrivals include Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream, Cherry Bakewell Yum Yums, Bacon & Egg Bites, and Ginger Beer Spatchcock Chicken.

Following the popularity of the cheese raclette and heater at Christmas, the supermarket will be introducing a chili raclette cheese to its service counters – ideal for no-fuss summer dining and great for celebrations when lockdown lifts.

Beth Elliot, Brand Manager at Waitrose & Partners, says “This summer, more than ever, we know our customers will be spending more time at home, in their gardens or outdoor spaces, enjoying the sunshine. Summer dining is a fast-growing area for us and we know our customers want to shop in more convenient and quicker ways right now.

“We’ve reflected this by creating a range of ready to eat food and quick to prepare dishes which are tasty, exciting, foodie and fun – making them the perfect options for carpet picnics and barbecues. By putting all our summer products in an eye-catching, bright design, it helps our customers to shop quickly for food and drink and the innovative dishes and playful combinations showcase the very best flavours to brighten up summer with.” 

The Scrumptious Summer range launches this week throughout the summer on Waitrose.com and in Waitrose & Partners shops. 

Product highlights include

  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Cherry Bakewell Yum Yums (launching late summer)
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Rose, Lemon & Sherbet Cupcakes
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Ham Hock & Piccalilli Bites (launching late summer)
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Bacon & Egg Bites (launching late summer)
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Vegan Creamy Stuffed Peppers
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Coronation Chicken Flatbreads
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Cheese, Pickle & Tomato Quiche
  • Waitrose Scrumptious Summer Pork & \’Nduja Sausage Whorl
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Waitrose Launches Toy Design Competition to Raise Money For The NHS

John Lewis and Waitrose have launched a soft toy design competition for children around the UK to raise critical funds for the NHS.

With homeschooling recommencing across the nation, the retailer is inviting children (and adults) to create and share their designs for a “super-bear” cuddly toy that celebrates the spirit and fortitude of the fearless men and women working on the frontline during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The winning design will be turned into an exclusive private brand Christmas toy and sold by Waitrose and John Lewis from October, following in the footsteps of a number of beloved characters from the retailer. 

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Martin George, Marketing
Director for the
John Lewis Partnership

Martin George, Marketing Director for the John Lewis Partnership, comments: “The acts of gratitude demonstrated by the public towards frontline workers, from the thousands of “thank you” pictures to Thursday evening clapping, shows how deep our nation’s love for the NHS goes. We’ve already been supporting the NHS and critical workers in a number of ways, but we want to make a lasting contribution that demonstrates our appreciation for those who are on the front line. 

“We hope this competition will help inspire the nation’s children to put pencil to paper and encourage many to submit their creations, while helping us give something back to our wonderful National Health Service and frontline workers.”

The competition, which launches on April 24, marks the start of the “Feel Good Friday” campaign, designed to bring the nation together in a time of isolation.

Every Friday, Waitrose & John Lewis will focus on one skill or pastime, all in service of helping people enjoy a shared interest, learn something new and creating stronger relationships within local communities.

Working with Partners, celebrity experts, a range of charities and the NHS, this will include everything from gardening, arts and crafts, mindfulness, to baking and fitness.

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John Lewis & Waitrose Give National Health Service Workers A Sweet Gift

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Waitrose and John Lewis are giving away 50,000 boxes of private brand Easter candy to NHS workers as a small token of their appreciation in the run up to Easter. 

Fifty-one Waitrose stores will give chocolates donated from John Lewis, which include truffles and mini Easter eggs, to NHS staff when they visit the shops from this Friday, up until the Easter weekend. 

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The Waitrose branches have been chosen due to their proximity to NHS hospitals, with shops based in locations including London, Dorset, Hampshire, Northumberland and the West Midlands. 

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Peter Cross, Director of Customer Experience at the John Lewis Partnership says: “In these extremely difficult times, we wanted to make a small gesture to those working on the frontline. We hope these gifts will go a little way in helping to express our gratitude and simply brighten up the day a little for the NHS staff who are working tirelessly in really challenging circumstances.”
 
The Partnership has already introduced a number of measures to support NHS workers:

  • Waitrose stores are setting aside a portion of hard-to-find and essential products from every delivery – exclusively for NHS staff, on production of an NHS card – who often do not have flexibility over what time of the day they can visit a supermarket.
  • NHS staff are being given priority checkout service in the retailer\’s stores to ensure they are able to get through as quickly and easily as possible – through either dedicated NHS checkouts, Partners opening up new tills for them as needed or moving to the front of the queue.
  • John Lewis also donated care packs with items such as pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand cream to hospitals to make breaks more comfortable.
  • The Easter chocolates will be given out to NHS workers from Friday 2nd April until Easter weekend in selected Waitrose stores.
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Waitrose to fund New Colombian Coffee project

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight, UK grocer Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners have committed to funding a new quality lab and training school to help secure a brighter future for Colombia’s next generation of coffee farmers. 

In support of the coffee producers in Colombia, the John Lewis Partnership, Bewley’s and Olam Speciality Coffee – in association with the Fairtrade Foundation, will be investing £100,000 over the next three years. This will be used to kickstart a new training and education program led by ASOPEP, a coffee cooperative made up of over 300 members in post-conflict zones such as Huila and Tolima, in the Southwest of the country. 

The new laboratory and training facilities will enable local communities to sell coffee of a higher grade and value. These quality facilities and training programs will give local growers access to a variety of techniques, from organic and sustainable farming, good agricultural practices, new coffee varieties and quality testing. 

Jemima Jewell, Corporate Responsibility Lead at The John Lewis Partnership, comments: “This new laboratory and training center will provide fantastic upskilling opportunities, that will help enthuse and inspire a new generation of farmers to carry on the tradition.

“In post-conflict zones like Huila and Tolima, the coffee industry can be a critical lifeline, one that has been put at risk through low pricing, a lack of modern infrastructure and limited access to education. By supporting local coffee farming communities through this collaboration, the long term aim is to improve incomes, create a more sustainable future for Colombia’s coffee producers and encourage younger generations into coffee growing.

Camilo Enciso Suarez, General Manager of ASOPEP, says: “Projects like the one supported by Waitrose & Partners and its suppliers are critical because it will help provide training and motivate younger generations. This has the potential to help sustain whole communities in Colombia that depend on coffee to make an income into the future.”

Euan Venters, Commercial Director at Fairtrade Foundation, comments: “This innovative program shows the value businesses can bring when they invest in protecting and developing future supply chains whilst working in direct partnership with farmers themselves. It is fantastic to see the John Lewis Partnership – which already sources all of its coffee as Fairtrade – go further by helping to address the real challenges farmers are facing and help scale up social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

In the next five years, the project aims to increase the breadth of members being trained in these areas, with a particular focus given to women and the next generation.

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Waitrose Appoints Martyn Lee Executive Chef to Lead Private Brand Innovation

Waitrose & Partners has appointed Martyn Lee to the high profile role of executive chef as the retailer boosts its commitment to product quality and innovation.

Martyn Lee will head up a team of development chefs based at the Waitrose Food Innovation Studio at its Bracknell Headquarters, which was officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2019. Over £1.5M was invested in the facility, helping to increase the pace of cutting edge and distinctive products. 

Lee’s role will include developing the retailer’s successful private brands, some of which include Waitrose & Partners No.1, Heston from Waitrose and Cooks’ Ingredients. 

The new appointment is part of the retailer’s commitment to being the most innovative, high quality food retailer in the supermarket sector.

Martyn Lee has held senior product development roles with a number of major food manufacturers and retailers, playing a critical role in bringing food trends to life while supporting each business to deliver product innovation. 

Most recently at Tesco, Lee has also worked for Moy Park as a senior development chef which included spending a year collaborating with the Waitrose innovation team on new meat, fish and poultry ranges. 

Natalie Mitchell, Head of Production Innovation & Own Brand, Waitrose & Partners, says: “I’m delighted that one of the leading development chefs in the industry has joined Waitrose. Martyn\’s wealth of experience and creative vision will help us to continue offering the high-quality and distinctive products our customers expect.”

Martyn Lee, new Executive Chef at Waitrose & Partners, says: “Waitrose is known for pushing the boundaries on quality and delivering cutting edge innovation but also for its strong sourcing credentials – so it’s incredibly exciting to be joining the team. I’m looking forward to adding my own creativity to one of the UK’s most respected brands.” 

Waitrose & Partners has a strong track record in innovation – it was the first to market with foods ranging from hummus and sushi in the 1980s to the Heston from Waitrose Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding in 2010 to the more recent Chocolate Avocado which was a best-seller last Easter.