Waitrose boss says 70,000 workers required to stop food rotting in fields


Your country needs YOU – to pick fruit and veg: Waitrose boss calls for 70,000-strong ‘Land Army’ to stop food rotting in fields

Hundreds of thousands of tons of ‘wonderful British produce’ will be left to rot in the fields if 70,000 Britons do not step up to pick fruit and vegetables, Waitrose’s head of food has said.

Rupert Thomas, the supermarket’s director of trading, issued the dire warning as the country prepares for the start of the British berry picking season next month.

He said Britain would need to invoke the spirit of the Land Army, the name given to the 80,000 Britons who brought in the harvest during the Second World War. 

Waitrose’s director of trading said 70,000 workers are desperately needed to pick fruit and vegetables

As the coronavirus pandemic rages, farmers have been left without their usual source of migrant labourers, many from Eastern Europe, who usually make up 90 per cent of the workforce.

Thomas said: ‘We don’t have enough pickers for harvest season and if we don’t find people in time, hundreds of thousands of tons of wonderful, healthy British produce will go to waste and the livelihoods of countless British producers will be put at risk.

‘Crops will, quite literally, rot in the fields without committed pickers. Truly, your country needs you.’


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