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Responsible Retailing

What's in our food and drink? Where does it come from? How do we maintain our high standards? Which awards have we won?

Food and drink served

We aim to continually improve the quality of our food 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 the 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 Deal [1] 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.

Allergens

Full allergen/nutritional information can be found on our menus, customer information screen, website and Wetherspoon app. While we have procedures for segregating preparation within meals and drinks, kitchen and bar service may involve shared preparation/cooking areas. If you have any specific food/drink allergen needs, please inform us when ordering; we will take reasonable steps to prepare your meal safely, although cannot guarantee a completely allergen-free environment or products.

Vegetarian dishes, vegan dishes, dishes under 5% fat and dishes under 500 Calories are indicated on the menu using symbols.

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, for example 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 shell eggs.

We have worked with the Rainforest Alliance since 2008, and 100% of the 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 the 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 400 UK brewers, delivering over 5,000 different 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 different countries, we aim to uphold the International Labour Organisation’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 policies on animals’ close confinement, genetic engineering or cloning, growth-promoting substances, use of antibiotics, use of routine mutilations, pre-slaughter 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 members of SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) – the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing responsible sourcing data on supply chains (including labour rights, health & safety, the environment and business ethics) used by over 50,000 members in more than 150 countries.

Responsible alcohol-retailing

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
  • Support for Drinkaware
  • Responsible advertising and marketing of alcohol
  • Support for 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 (BII), People First and Hospitality UK. 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.

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 2019, 97% of pubs had achieved the maximum five stars for the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme system, run by local authorities in England and Wales. An additional 2% achieved a rating of four stars. All pubs in Scotland assessed under the Scottish pass/fail scheme achieved a pass.

We have signed a Primary Authority Partnership (under the Better Regulation Delivery Office scheme) for health and safety, food safety and trading standards, with Reading Borough Council.

Monitoring our high 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 868 pubs (99%) accredited by Cask Marque for the quality and consistency of the real ale which they serve.

There are 248 Wetherspoon pubs listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2020 (2019: 243 pubs) – a larger proportion, we believe, than any other substantial pub company.

Published: November 2019



[1] The 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.


Wetherspoon: food sourcing policies, practices and guidelines

Version 1.0 July 2017