Farming News - Waitrose farmers supply wool for John Lewis mattresses to prevent waste wool

Waitrose farmers supply wool for John Lewis mattresses to prevent waste wool

26 Aug 2021
Frontdesk / Livestock

John Lewis Classic mattress on location at Waitrose sheep farm 2

John Lewis, in partnership with suppliers Hypnos, H.Dawson and Dalehead,* is launching a new range of mattresses this week that, for the first time ever, will be made with wool provided by Waitrose sheep farmers.

Once a highly valued commodity in the UK, wool has been under-utilised for decades, with the price offered not even covering the cost of shearing, let alone transportation.This has led to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of high quality British wool being wasted for decades, with farmers being forced to burn or bury it after shearing.

This issue is not common knowledge among British shoppers, with two-thirds (66%) claiming to be unaware farmers were having to burn their wool. But showing they care, over half (52%) said they’d be happy to pay more for products that use British wool, with 41% saying they’d be prepared to pay between 5-10% more and a third saying they’d pay as much as 20% more.

Now, by partnering withWaitrose’s long serving sheep farmers, this highly sustainable and natural fibre will once again be put to good use, in a move the John Lewis Partnership hopes will raise awareness of the issue, drive demand for British wool and - in doing so,raise its value for the benefit of sheep farmers all over the UK.

Jake Pickering, Senior Agriculture Manager atWaitrose, comments:“Wool used to sustain entire economies but it has declined in value so dramatically that British farmers are now in some cases having to dump it.We are in a fortunate position in running a Partnership that operates both a supermarket and a home department store,so we saw an opportunity to make a difference to our farmers and the environment by ensuring the quality wool they’re producing is not wasted.We hope that in doing this, we will raise awareness of this issue and restore British wool’s status as the highly valued and high quality British commodity it used to be."

Patrick Loxdale, one of the farmers involved in the initiative, comments:“The wool market has been tough for a long time and now, with exports to China halted because of the pandemic, it’s even tougher. My hope is this initiative will kickstart a resurgence in interest in British wool.We’ve been farming in Aberystwyth for 250 years and if I have anything to do about it, we’ll be farming here for another 250 years.”