Waitrose and ITV join forces to recruit 70,000 farm pickers

Waitrose & Partners and ITV have come together for a campaign to recruit farm pickers amid fears that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a reduction in farm workers and hit the nation’s fruit and vegetable supply.

Launching today (Tuesday), the partnership supports the UK farming industry and the government’s joint Pick for Britain initiative, which aims to recruit 70,000 British workers to harvest fruit and vegetables.

Earlier this year, farming organisations warned that lockdown restrictions would prevent the usual workforce returning to farms for the harvest period, leaving a large proportion of fruit and vegetables unpicked and jeopardising the livelihoods of many farmers and producers. In response, Pick for Britain was formed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, with support by organisations such as the National Farmers Union.

Simon Daglish, deputy managing director of commercial at ITV, said: “The Waitrose partnership is one of numerous ways in which brands are coming together to drive public awareness of the challenges everyone is facing throughout this pandemic. This ad campaign will shine a light on the invaluable work carried out by farmers throughout Britain and we’re hopeful it will help to bridge the labour shortfall.”

Later this year, ITV will air a documentary following the journeys of people who have volunteered to join the new farming workforce. The TV programme will be produced by Wonderhood Studios.

Rupert Thomas, director of trading at Waitrose, added: “We source so much home-grown produce during the UK season that we absolutely need to ensure it’s picked, but it’s also vital for the livelihoods of UK farmers and growers across the industry that the country’s fruit and vegetables aren’t left to rot.

“While the ad will leave viewers with no illusion that the job of a picker is easy, we hope it will capture the imagination and encourage people to do something extraordinary that’s for the good of the nation.”

This article was originally published by Campaign.

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