Waitrose has won the Best Retailers Innovation Awards for its role in developing a “groundbreaking” animal welfare app in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
The project that was also lead by behavioural scientist Professor Francoise Wemelsfelder has allowed the grocer to retain its title of overall Best Retailer for the fourth year in a row at the Compassion in World Farming’s Awards.
The app features the Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) technology – the first of its kind that detects and measures a farm animal or fish’s emotion wellbeing.
Developed by a team of scientists at SRUC, the app assesses the expressive body language of “how” animals behave, including metrics on its enthusiasm, activity, flatness and stress levels.
By analysing behavioural patterns, the QBA App hopes to continually improve the quality of life for livestock along Waitrose’s supply chain.
After Waitrose has fully tested the new technology, the app which also won a BBC Food and Farming Award will be rolled out across other companies to benefit more animals.
“We are absolutely delighted to have once again received these awards, particularly to have held onto our status as a leading supermarket in animal welfare since 2004 and winner of the Best Retailer Award four consecutive times in a row,” Waitrose agricultural and responsible Jemima Jewell said.
“It takes enormous passion, commitment and hard work to achieve the high standards we’ve maintained for the past 30 years. This is unquestionably a direct result of the longstanding and close relationships we’ve built with our farmers over multiple decades and without their loyalty and dedication, these accolades would simply not be possible.”
Scotland’s Rural College senior researcher Professor Francoise Wemelsfelder added: “This award is a fantastic recognition of Waitrose’s pioneering work in making farm animals’ emotional well-being a key aspect of managing animal welfare standards.”
“It has been enjoyable, interesting and productive to collaborate with their supply chains in developing and testing the app, and see their high animal welfare standards at work.”