Responsible retailing and marketing
What's in our food and drink? Where does it come from? How do we maintain our high standards?
Food and drinks served
We aim to improve the quality of our food continually and to provide customers with information about
our product range to help them to make informed decisions about their food consumption.
Nutritional information, including calories, is available from our website and in all pubs. The calorie-count of each dish is included on our menu. A range of meals is available and highlighted containing 500 Calories or fewer, along with those containing less than 5% fat.
As well as the range of ‘small plates’, several of our more popular main meals (including fish and chips, traditional breakfast and the full pizza range) are available in a smaller portion size, alongside the standard portion. Smaller portions suit those with a smaller appetite and also help to avoid food waste.
We have fully supported the Public Health Responsibility Deal3, from its introduction in 2011.
We have signed up to the following pledges in the food section of the Responsibility Deal:
• calorie reduction
• salt catering: reformulation of products as purchased by the customer
• salt reduction
Since 2010, we have reduced the overall salt content in our meals by about 20%. Initial focus was on dishes with the highest salt level and children’s meals; however, now, it includes all meals. The salt content of all meals is included in the nutritional information (g of salt per meal or portion). For children’s meals, this information is also included in the children’s menu.
We do not use any hydrogenated vegetable fats or trans-fats in our foods. The cooking oil we use is virtually trans-fat free.
We do not use genetically modified ingredients in our foods.
Health and nutrition, allergens
Full allergen/nutritional information can be found on our website, on the Wetherspoon app and on customer information screens in all pubs. Customers can ask at the bar, where staff will be able to direct them to this information.
While we have procedures for segregating preparation within meals and drinks, kitchen and bar service may involve shared preparation/cooking areas. If customers have specific food/drink allergen needs, we ask that they please inform us; we will take reasonable steps to prepare their meal safely, although cannot guarantee a completely allergen-free environment or products.
Vegetarian dishes, vegan dishes, dishes which are less than 5% fat and dishes under 500 Calories are indicated on the menu by symbols.
We support practices which promote sensible drinking and have established a ‘code of conduct for responsible retailing’, outlining our approach in this area.
We have signed up to the following pledges in the alcohol section of the Public Health Responsibility Deal:
• awareness of alcohol units in the on-trade
• tackling underage alcohol sales
• supporting Drinkaware
• responsible advertising and marketing of alcohol
• supporting community actions to tackle alcohol harm
In October 2014, we were the first major on-trade alcohol retailer to include the alcohol unit content of all drinks on our menu.
We also seek to develop partnerships with local authorities and the police. All pubs are requested to become a member of the local pubwatch scheme (which promotes a safe and responsible drinking environment). In several locations, a company pub manager chairs the scheme and, where there is no pubwatch, we work with the local police and council to try to establish one.
We support and work with several cross-industry organisations, including the British Institute of Innkeeping, UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association. A company representative sits on the National Pubwatch committee; we also financially support Drinkaware.
We encourage our pubs to enter the Best Bar None schemes (run by local authorities and the police, to encourage good behaviour in town centres), promoting a safe and secure environment.
The company applies proof-of-age policies to anyone playing gaming machines, to ensure that they are not played by customers aged under 18 years.
Responsible gambling messages are displayed on digital gaming machines, with support organisations’ information, regarding gambling issues, also provided.
Food safety and health and safety
The company promotes high standards of food safety and health and safety throughout the business.
At the end of September 2021, 99.1% of pubs had achieved the maximum five stars for the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, run by local authorities in England and Wales, with 99.74% achieving a rating of four or above. All pubs in Scotland are assessed under the Scottish ‘pass/fail’ scheme – and achieved a ‘pass’.
With Reading Borough Council, we have signed a primary authority partnership (under the Better Regulation Delivery Office scheme) for health and safety, food safety and trading standards.
Every pub receives at least five quality-assurance visits each month from a combination of its area manager, the audit department, an external ‘mystery shopper’ company and other head-office managers. The scores from these visits are combined and form part of the bonus scheme for all pub-based employees.
There are 867 pubs (99%) accredited by Cask Marque for the quality and consistency of the real ales which they serve.
There are 242 Wetherspoon pubs listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2021 (2020: 248 pubs) – a larger proportion, we believe, than any other substantial pub company.
Responsible marketing and promotion
We have committed to highlighting a balance of menu options (including low-calorie dishes) within our promotions, including clubs and other offers.
We will not advertise anything HFSS4 to children across any channel, as defined by the Ofcom Nutrient Profiling Model.
We will adhere to the BCAP, Ofcom and CAP codes for advertising to children.
We will avoid promotional activity encouraging customers to order additional items and consume more than they would have originally intended. Examples include ‘would you like chips with that?’.
We will avoid promotional activities which force a customer to order more than one course, eg advertising the price for only two or three courses. A one-course meal with an additional charge to add a dessert is acceptable.
We will not participate in promotions which encourage and reward the overconsumption of food, eg a reward for finishing the meal/‘man v food’ promotions.
We will avoid promotional activities which encourage customers to purchase multiple food offers by offering sizable discounts.
We will not offer, for a fixed price, the unlimited consumption of fizzy drinks or any other drink which falls under the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL).
Retailing to children
We are committed to providing children’s menus which offer credible healthier choices, with controlled levels of salt, added sugar, saturated fat and total fat.
We will review the level of calories, salt and sugar in all food and drink specifically marketed at children. By the end of 2022, no main meal or dessert is to exceed 50% of the recommended daily intake for children of calories, salt and/or sugar.
We will continue to support the ‘five-a-day’ message for fruit and vegetables. All children’s meals will be served with a portion of vegetables or salad (cucumber and tomato), plus a portion of fruit.
We will commit to promoting healthier choices, wherever possible, and highlighting healthier swaps on menus.
We will not market to children fizzy drinks or any other drink which falls under the SDIL.
Responsible product-sourcing and product quality
We have a fully traceable supply chain, and all of the company’s food suppliers have a globally recognised food-production standard, eg accreditation by the British Retail Consortium.
There are strict specifications for all products, so that high standards of quality and food safety are met, including:
• detailed product specifications
• complete product traceability
• regular DNA-testing on all processed meat products, steaks and fish
• speciation tests
We promote long-term relationships with our suppliers. Where possible, we use British products and support British farming. For example, our chips are made using 100% British potatoes; our beef burgers are made with 100% British and Irish beef; our sausages are made with 100% British and Irish pork; all of our beef steaks come from Britain and Ireland.
We only use free-range eggs with the British Lion quality mark from the UK.
We have worked with the Rainforest Alliance since 2008. The Tetley tea and Lavazza coffee served comes from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms. In 2010, we were awarded the Sustainable Standard-Setter Award, by the Rainforest Alliance, for ongoing dedication, innovation and leadership in environmental conservation.
Where practicable, we work with suppliers, contractors and partners to minimise environmental impact and encourage sustainable sourcing.
We support brewers of all sizes, across the UK and Ireland, so that our customers can enjoy a diverse range of real ales. We support over 350 UK brewers, delivering over 4,000 ales through real-ale festivals, exhibitions, meet-the-brewer events and the promotion and stocking of their beers. We aim for every pub to have at least four ales available, at all times, including those locally sourced.
We carry out our business honestly and with respect for the rights and interests of those involved. We endeavour to ensure that relations with suppliers and business partners are fair and mutually beneficial.
Employees are not permitted to accept bribes or enticements of any kind, including gifts or hospitality.
In sourcing products from many countries, we aim to uphold the International Labour Organization’s agreed standards of labour (including a ban on child labour and forced labour). We expect our suppliers to treat their employees fairly, honestly and with respect for their human rights.
We have a farm animal welfare policy which sets out our required standards on animals’ close confinement, genetic engineering or cloning, growth-promoting substances, use of antibiotics, use of routine mutilations, preslaughter stunning and long-distance live transportation. Suppliers are selected and then audited to monitor their compliance with our farm animal welfare policy. To view the policy, click here.
We are a member of Sedex – the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains (including labour rights, health and safety, the environment and business ethics), used by over 50,000 members in more than 150 countries.
The supplier charter document sets out all of the requirements of working with Wetherspoon, as well as those policies and procedures applicable to all suppliers.
A full copy of the supplier charter is available here: www.jdwetherspoon.com/investors
Farming standards, animal-sourcing and welfare
Wetherspoon believes that it has a responsibility to conduct its business responsibly and ethically;
this extends to the sourcing of food products. Our food-sourcing policy refers to all of our products and ingredients containing meat, seafood, dairy and/or egg products.
We are committed to the ‘five freedoms’ as defined by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (2009). These form the basis of internationally recognised animal welfare practice.
The routine use, by suppliers, of close-confinement systems in the rearing of farm animals is, where possible, avoided in the supply chain. This includes no cages for laying hens or broiler chickens and no tethering of dairy or beef cattle. The exception is with pigs, where farrowing crates are used under certain circumstances.
The use of growth promoters is strictly prohibited across all of our livestock supply chains.
There is no routine mutilation of farm animals used to supply products. There are instances of tail-docking and teeth-clipping in pigs and tail-docking in lambs, where their welfare is deemed to be at risk by not doing so.
To prevent undue stress to animals, we aim to keep animal transportation times to a minimum; eight hours is the maximum, although, in reality, most journeys are considerably shorter.
All livestock providing meat is stunned, before slaughter, to ensure that the animal is insensitive to pain.
All farmed seafood is stunned before processing.
We do not support the use of animals to test the safety of products.
Use of antibiotics
Wetherspoon does not support the preventative mass medication of animals by the use of antibiotics (prophylactic) within its supply chain. Our view is that antibiotics should be used only where there has been a specific clinical diagnosis.
A formal antibiotic reduction strategy has been developed using, as a blueprint, the Compassion in World Farming antibiotic stewardship programme.
Antibribery and corruption policy
Wetherspoon conducts all business in an honest and ethical manner and with a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption. We are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity, in all of our business dealings and relationships.
The antibribery and corruption policy is based on the Bribery Act 2010 and applies to any person with whom, or organisation with which, Wetherspoon works, including actual or potential suppliers, agents, advisers and professional advisers, wherever located, and any person who works for Wetherspoon, including employees, directors, consultants, agency workers, volunteers, agents and contractors.
All forms of bribery and corruption are strictly prohibited.
It is not acceptable to:
a) give or offer any payment, gift, hospitality or other benefit in the expectation that a business advantage will be received in return or to reward any business received.
b) accept anything, the offer of which you know, or suspect, to have been made with the expectation that it will provide a business advantage to the person offering it or to anyone else.
c) give or offer any payment (sometimes called a facilitation payment) to a government official in any country to facilitate or speed up a routine or necessary procedure.
d) threaten or retaliate against another person who has refused to offer or accept a bribe or who has raised concerns about possible bribery or corruption.
Wetherspoon operates a strict corporate hospitality policy. Wetherspoon’s employees are not permitted to accept gifts or corporate hospitality of any kind – and we ask that third parties do not offer it. If unsolicited gifts are received by Wetherspoon, at Christmas for example, these are logged with the head of purchasing and raffled in aid of the company’s nominated charity – Young Lives vs Cancer.
It is unacceptable for any Wetherspoon employee (or someone on his or her behalf) to:
• give, promise to give or offer a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation that he or she or Wetherspoon will improperly be given a business advantage or as a reward for a business advantage already improperly given.
• give, promise to give or offer a payment, gift or hospitality to a government official, agent or representative to facilitate or expedite a routine procedure.
• accept payment from a third party, where it is known or suspected that it is offered or given with the expectation that the third party will improperly obtain a business advantage.
• accept a gift or hospitality from a third party, where it is known or suspected that it is offered
or provided with an expectation that a business advantage will be improperly provided by Wetherspoon in return.
• threaten or retaliate against another Wetherspoon employee who has refused to commit a bribery offence or who has raised concerns under this policy.
• engage in any activity which might lead to a breach of this policy.
We encourage employees, suppliers and their employees to report and disclose genuine and serious wrongdoing, so that we can deal internally, at an early stage, with any improper activities and investigate accordingly. All whistleblowing should be reported to the following e-mail address: email@example.com
Sourcing policies, practices and guidelines
Wetherspoon has a responsibility to conduct its business responsibly and ethically and this extends to the sourcing of food products. We recognise animal welfare as a business issue and strive to ensure the highest possible animal welfare standards across the supply chain.
Suppliers are expected to hold a globally recognised food safety standard, such as British Retail Consortium certification or an alternative GAP-accredited scheme.
Suppliers conform to those accredited assurance schemes relevant to their geographic location and products supplied. These assurance schemes comply with EU legislation as a minimum and include, but are not limited to, Red Tractor, Bord Bia, RSPCA Assured and Genesis GAP.
We complete regular risk-based supplier audits.
Our responsible-supplier principles set out our expectations of all suppliers. This is to ensure that all workers involved in our supply chains are treated honestly, ethically and responsibly. This extends to pay, working hours, working conditions, prohibiting child labour, prohibiting forced labour, freedom of association and employee representation and equality of treatment.
We are committed to the ‘five freedoms’ as defined by the
Farm Animal Welfare Committee (2009).
The policy statements below set out time-bound limitations of the expected animal welfare standards for the supply of chicken. The welfare standards are based on the European Chicken Commitment. All dates detailed are to the end of the calendar year. Unless progress steps are defined, the standard is met currently. Suppliers/producers will comply with all EU animal welfare laws and regulations, regardless of the country
Current – Critically important antibiotics [currently used for human medicine and defined as the highest priority by the World Health Organization (WHO)] to be used as a last resort only and where animal health and welfare may otherwise be compromised.
2021 – No critically important antibiotics given the highest priority by WHO to be used.
2026 – Reduction in line with J D Wetherspoon’s antibiotic reduction strategy.
Antibiotic reduction strategy
No prophylactic use of antibiotics in the rearing of chickens used for supply. Suppliers/producers must have a published antibiotic reduction strategy, updated each year and provided to the company. The use of growth promoters is strictly prohibited across all of our livestock supply chains, including chicken production. No poultry derived from a cloned animal or subsequent generations is to be used.
Current – 100% of chicken flocks are to be raised cage free.
2026 – 100% of chicken flocks are to be raised cage free and without the use of multitier systems.
Current – Must not exceed 38kg/m2 and will average 33kg/m2.
2021 – Must not exceed 33kg/m2.
2026 – Must not exceed 30kg/m2.
The breeds considered to have higher welfare outcomes are Hubbard JA757, 787, 957, or 987, Rambler Ranger, Ranger Classic and Ranger Gold and others which meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
2021 – 25% improvement to breeds with high welfare outcomes.
2026 – 100% switch to breeds with high welfare outcomes.
Current – Min 20 lux.
2021 – Expected progress to be made.
2026 – Min 50 lux, including natural light.
2021 – Expected progress to be made.
2026 – At least two metres of usable perch space and two pecking substrates
per 1,000 birds.
Requirements are laid down in Annex 2.3 of the EU broiler directive and are
regardless of stocking density.
Concentration of ammonia (NH3) will not exceed 30ppm.
Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) will not exceed 3,000ppm.
When external temperature exceeds 30˚C in the shade, the internal temperature will be no more than 33˚C.
When the external temperature is below 10˚C, average internal relative humidity, measured inside the house over 48 hours, will not exceed 70%.
Thinning is to be discouraged.
Current – Number of thins to be determined.
2021 – Expected progress to be made.
2026 – Limited to one thin per flock.
Current – % levels to be determined.
2021 – 50% reduction on current levels; hot knife method to be prohibited.
2026 – 100% reduction on current levels.
Live transport times
Must not exceed eight hours and no live exports.
Birds must be unloaded and slaughtered, after being assessed, as soon as possible
after arrival at the slaughterhouse. If the birds are not killed straight away, they must be provided with:
- drinking water, suitable enough for the number of birds.
- feed, if not slaughtered within 12 hours of arrival; after that, at regular intervals, suitable enough for the number of birds.
- enough space to house all animals; if in containers, they must be stable, must not allow excreta to fall on the animals below and must be suitably ventilated.
- an environment which keeps them safe from potential injury and predators.
- shelter/shade from extreme weather.
- protection from sudden noises.
- lighting suitable for inspections to be carried out.
- natural or mechanical ventilation to protect them from extreme temperatures,
as well as from harmful levels of humidity and ammonia.
When suitable technology is commercially available, controlled atmospheric stunning using inert gas or multiphase systems, or effective electrical stunning without live inversion, will be adopted.
Lamb is sourced from New Zealand and the UK.
New Zealand lamb is produced under the Alliance Group Farm Assurance Programme
– designed to ensure that suppliers meet high food and animal welfare standards consistently in their farming practices. British lamb comes from farms operating under the Red Tractor Farm Assurance scheme or Farm Assured Welsh Livestock Scheme.
All lamb is outdoor reared, free range and (where possible) pasture fed. None of our lamb products is reared using confinement systems for livestock. All of the lamb we use is free from genetic modification.
Beef is sourced from farms in the UK and Ireland, operating under the Red Tractor and Bord Bia quality-assurance schemes which promote best farming practices.
Farmers must provide adequate animal shelter from rain/sun, particularly at vulnerable times, such as calving. The majority of the animals’ diet must comprise grazed grass and grass-based winter forages.
Pork products are sourced from within the EU from producers which conform to the appropriate national standards, based on Council Directive 2008/120. Many of the national standards exceed the minimum requirements. Current stocking densities will not exceed 30 sows per hectare.
Fish and shellfish
Cod and haddock are sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishing grounds in the North Atlantic, rated as either 2 or 3 by the Marine Conservation Society.
The company has achieved MSC Chain of Custody certification.
Scampi is sourced from fishing grounds around the UK and Ireland, the weighted average MCS score for these fishing grounds being 2.98.
Tuna is dolphin friendly, caught using purse seines and FAD (fish aggregating
For cooking purposes, the company uses certified roundtable sustainable palm oil (RSPO) which meets the global production and supply chain requirements for sustainable palm oil. Annually, the company completes traceability tests with suppliers, back to first importer. All palm oil used as an ingredient in supplied products is RSPO certified. No new products are listed without this certification. The company is working with suppliers to identify other areas which may use palm oil products or derivatives, such as cleaning or personal hygiene products.
Soya as an ingredient
There are currently 16 products which have soya as an ingredient or compound ingredient. The percentage of soya used as an ingredient is low in the majority of products. We commit to ensuring, by the end of 2023, that all soya used as an ingredient or compound ingredient in the supply chain is certified sustainable according to a recognised certification scheme. From September 2021 onwards, no product is now listed with soya as an ingredient if the origins cannot be confirmed as sustainable.– We will conduct periodic traceability audit tests with our suppliers on the origins of soya as an ingredient.
Soya as animal feed
We are working with suppliers to ensure, by the end of 2023, that all soya used as animal feed in the supply chain is certified sustainable according to a recognised certification scheme. The data-capturing process is under way and we currently understand, for 50% of our chicken products, that our suppliers have implemented sustainable soya policies and/or practices to ensure that soya is not coming from areas of existing or formed rainforests, primary forests, high conservation value lands, high carbon stock forest areas or illegally deforested areas in the Amazon Biome. No new products will be listed without this certification for animal feed. We use UK beef which is produced using predominantly a forage-based diet with only a small amount of soya as animal feed, on which we look to capture origin data.
All eggs, including those used as an included ingredient in supplied products, are from hens reared in free-range systems and cage free. Fresh whole eggs are sourced in the UK and are all RSPCA assured and display the British Lion quality mark.
All fresh milk is sourced in the UK from cows reared under the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Dairy Scheme. Milk is currently sourced from about 100 farms audited by Red Tractor directly. This scheme sets standards for animal welfare and the use of antibiotics. Untethered exercise must be provided daily. The prophylactic use of antibiotics and growth promoters is not allowed. The milk produced is routinely tested for residual antibiotics.
Coffee, sugar, cocoa, tea
Our standard Lavazza coffee is 100% Rainforest Alliance certified.
Lavazza decaffeinated coffee is not Rainforest Alliance certified.
Sugar: White/brown sugar sticks (for hot drinks) – Fairtrade certified.
The source of sugar as an ingredient within food products is not currently known.
Cocoa: As of January 2021, 15% of products containing cocoa are certified with either UTZ Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade; 55% uncertified; 30% not known.
Tea (Tetley): 100% Rainforest Alliance. From 2022, tea bags will be 100% biodegradable and plastic free.
Bananas – UTZ certified, Rainforest Alliance and sourced from an international company with a high standard of sustainability core values and international social accountability standards.
Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits – class 1, sourced from a variety of countries (including Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Uruguay and USA). Lemons and limes must be vegan, using a plant-based wax.
Published: January 2022
3The Public Health Responsibility Deal, launched in March 2011, was established to tap into the potential for businesses and other organisations to improve public health and tackle health inequalities through their influence over food, alcohol, physical activity and health in the workplace.
4HFSS means food and drinks products high in fat, salt or sugar, according to the nutrient-profiling scheme developed by the FSA.