British Quality Pigs (BQP), a subsidary of Dalehead Foods, comprises around 227 pig farms located across East Anglia and the South West dedicated to supplying Waitrose with its award winning range of pork products.
Paice visited two BQP farms, a 1,000 sow outdoor breed unit and a 1,200 indoor straw based wean to finish pig unit. He chatted with farmers to learn more about their partnerships with BQP before moving on to visit Dalehead's slaughter and processing facilities in Cambridgeshire.
The MP said: "I have really enjoyed touring the BQP, Dalehead and Waitrose supply chain. Its partnership with its farmers sets an excellent example to the rest of the food industry by ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare are delivered in a sustainable manner."
Farmers involved in the BQP partnership are provided with a package of support including feed supply, veterinary services and a guaranteed price per pig.
BQP has seen its share of UK pig production grow to 7.5% over recent years. It currently slaughters around half a million pigs a year, all of which are processed into a range of premium quality products for sale in Waitrose stores across the UK.
Dalehead supplies 100% of Waitrose's fresh pork and bacon and 70% of their sausages from its UK farms and has recently in conjunction with the retailer re-introduced the Berkshire breed back into the UK.
Andrew Saunders, commercial director for Dalehead Foods, said: "Our entire business is built around the three way partnership between the farmers, Waitrose and ourselves and it is this relationship that is key to all of our success.
"Waitrose is a growing business and we in turn need to grow to fulfil our commitment to supply it with top quality British pork, this is an exciting time for us and we are always interested in hearing from ambitious, forward thinking farmers looking to join the existing network of BQP farms."