Funding the future of British farming

We’ve invested millions of pounds in R&D to support British farmers. Here are some of the ways we help .

At Sainsbury’s, we want to support British farmers and growers – and we know our customers do, too.

So we invest millions of pounds in UK research and development (R&D) projects, so we can help make British farming better, more sustainable and more efficient. This also helps our business in the long run.

Recent research, for example, has enabled us to extend the British strawberry season – which is good for farmers, customers and us.

How we back British farmers

At the end of 2015/16, we invested in 48 R&D projects either as a project lead or partner. These projects were worth more than £10m in all, including outside funding.

Pigs on a farm

Past and present projects have included:

  • seeking to extend the British strawberry season, as mentioned above, using low-energy LED lighting
  • working with lamb farmers on how they manage grassland, to improve efficiency and rely less on bought-in feed
  • trying to find sows best suited to free farrowing, so that in future, pigs giving birth aren’t confined in crates
  • helping to grow more sustainable wheat


total 2015/16 investment in British farming projects where Sainsbury’s is involved.

Learning from research

We also work to help the British farming industry learn from the research we fund. At our third R&D Conference, in 2016, nearly 300 suppliers, scientists, partners and technologists met at the Royal Institution in London – to discuss ways of working together and learning from R&D.

Our annual farming conferences also share essential new knowledge. At our seventh conference, in November 2016, we focused on how we are ‘driving distinction’ by facilitating intelligent agriculture, and using data to help farmers be more productive.