On Friday 19th September, around
80 of Dovecote Park’s producers were welcomed to our Stapleton plant for the Dovecote
Park Producer Open Day. This was the first time a factory tour on this scale had been attempted and we were delighted to receive such a high turnout and positive response.
The day began with a presentation from
Waitrose’s Andrew Allchurch which
examined the current state of beef in the grocery market in relation to buying
trends among customers.
Once kitted up, the producers were split
into groups and taken on a tour of the plant by the Livestock team. This tour
displayed the Dovecote process from ‘back-to-front’ – starting
with racking and
continuing through retail packaging, despatch, boning hall, abattoir and finishing
in lairage. With many of our producers never having seen behind the scene of Dovecote’s operations, this provided an interactive and informative opportunity for the
farmers to witness first-hand the care and attention we dedicate towards the
cattle which they work incredibly hard to rear for us, and to the resulting
products we make for Waitrose.
After the tour, the producers
were taken into the Dovecote Park restaurant, where they had the chance to
socialise with one another and the Dovecote team over dinner and browse a
display of current and future product put together by the
NPD team. After a
short presentation and welcome from our Cattle Procurement Manager Kate Sutton, the crowd were treated to
an excellent butchery demonstration from our own Jeff Kirby and Retail Production
Manager Ian Brown, which exemplified
the fine butchery Dovecote prides itself on. Finally, Waitrose’s Heather Jenkins concluded the day with
a summary and an optimistic look into the future of the beef
Providing producers with a social and
informative occasion, and an outstanding demonstration of Dovecote practice,
the Open Day was a great success – Livestock would just like to express our sincere thanks to all the farmers who
attended, to the NPD team and the butchers for their superb demonstrations.