It was announced this week that Philip Ponsonby, CEO of Midcounties Co-operative, has joined The Happerley Advisory Board, chaired by Peter Jinman OBE, to help guide and steer the Happerley scheme in validating provenance for the benefit of the whole food industry and its consumers.
Philip Ponsonby also sits on the Co-operative’s Federal Retail and Trading Services board, responsible for the purchasing of food for over 4000 Co-operative stores across the UK.
Speaking at the Happerley Provenance Heroes event on 20 September, Philip addressed the audience of food producers, educators, caterers and other leading industry figures alluding to the watershed horsemeat scandal of 2013 warning that: “There’s a real danger that retailers become complacent. At the Co-op, we made the decision to go much further and started to design supply chains that would allow us to announce, as we did in May, that all our meat and poultry is sourced from British farms, and that’s not just the products in our chillers, that’s all our branded products from ready meal, pork pies, pies. Because …we were [previously] saying that if a chicken was fresh and in our chiller, we really cared about its welfare, but if it was chopped up and put in a sandwich we didn’t care about it.
“But at Midcounties, we wanted to go further than that, that’s why we developed our ‘Best of our Counties’ range, to allow us to really start working at a local level to get to the heart of product and provenance, so we’re delighted to be involved in the Happerley initiative and support the ideals of it.”
Ponsonby joins leading food, farming and agriculture lawyer, Sian Edmunds, and Chris Crookall-Fallon of Co-op Futures on the Board.
More board member announcements are to be made shortly.