Dovecote Park is the dedicated beef supplier to Waitrose, the food shops of the John Lewis Partnership. Waitrose has a long history of support for and involvement with British agriculture and British farmers, and only sells 100% British Beef in it stores.
The supply chain that serves this customer starts with membership of the Waitrose / Dovecote Park Beef Producer Group, which comprises over 1000 farms throughout the UK. All these beef producers are farm assured and commit to raising stock to the highest possible standards of animal welfare and husbandry, strictly monitored by Dovecote Park's own audit teams.
The Producer Group can be seen as a club of members, with regular open days, fieldsmen visits, direct two way communication with the factories, and newsletters all reinforcing the importance of a genuine supply chain partnership between the farmer, the meat processor, and the retailer.
This is a unique three way relationship and is founded upon Waitrose's genuine commitment and interest in sourcing beef produced to the highest possible standards of animal welfare and husbandry, and thus providing their customer with quality beef, with all the integrity, traceability, and assurance that their customers would expect from the Waitrose supply chain.
Dovecote Park provides four "brands", of beef to Waitrose, all sold under the Waitrose own label. There is "essential Waitrose", which is non breed specific, and which was launched in 2009 as the core Waitrose range. Then there is the Hereford range which is mostly sold in pre packed form and is the next tier up in offering the consumer a native breed product choice. The Aberdeen Angus brand, in which Waitrose have been the pioneers, for over nearly twenty years, is offered mainly in the service counters with some pre-pack. Waitrose also offer an Organic range as well as regional offers in Scotland, Welsh Black Beef in Wales plus seasonal specialties such as Highland beef.
All the beef produced is fed on a predominantly forage based diet, and Dovecote Park still only slaughter steers and heifers aged under thirty months. For the Angus, Hereford, Welsh Black and Highland schemes every animal processed has to be sired by a pedigree bull registered by the appropriate breed society, and this integrity and traceability is very strictly monitored. Every single hindquarter produced is hung on the bone for 7 days, before a further period of vacuum packed maturation, and for the traditionalists Dovecote Park offer a top of the range "Dry Aged" Angus product that is matured for 21 days minimum on the bone - a product that both Dovecote Park and Waitrose believe is the finest beef eating experience!
Dovecote Park sits right in the middle of this partnership, as the beef processor link between farmer and retailer. Our supply chain reaches right back through our farmer finishers, to store cattle producers, and calf rearers, as well as through to the breed societies who are an integral part of our supply chain. The 600 people who work in our two factories play their part in ensuring that the finest quality cattle end up being offered to Waitrose's customers as the finest quality beef. It is a partnership that focuses on the importance of everyone involved in this supply chain.