Princes is expanding its mental health first aider programme after a successful trial at two of its canning sites.

A team of ten mental health first aiders are working at each of the company’s food production sites in Long Sutton and Wisbech.

The Mental Health First Aider programme is now being extended to Princes other six sites across the UK, including its head office in Liverpool, ahead of a planned international roll-out.

Joe Dent, Chief People Officer of Princes, said: “The health and wellbeing of our colleagues is of the utmost importance to us. Whether colleagues are facing emotional, physical or financial challenges, we want to do what we can to spot the signs and to support and steer them to access the right help.

“We’re very proud at what we have achieved in Long Sutton and Wisbech and we’re looking forward to the programme being rolled out across Princes both in the UK and internationally. It is already making a real difference.”

Rachel Naylor, Princes HR Business Partner at Long Sutton and Wisbech, said: “We are delighted at how well received the Mental Health First Aider Programme has been and by the number of people who have volunteered to be trained.

“Our Mental Health First Aiders are very visible in the business. They wear stickers on their hats, badges or lanyards so they’re instantly recognisable and their details and photographs are on our colleague noticeboards. During the pandemic they wore face masks with ‘I’m here to help’ written on them.

“They have great empathy and when they ask people how they are, they are always ready to listen.

“We have created calm environments where colleagues can relax, talk and discuss their problems.”

Patrick Hickey, 58, a Multi-skilled Operator at Princes’ Long Sutton site, trained as a Mental Health First Aider 18 months ago.

He said:I’ve helped about 50 people with a range of issues, from a cancer diagnosis to a bereavement, concern about being able to pay a bill or get out of debt or a work concern.

“I’ve heard some tough stories but I’m pleased that people feel happy to open up and talk to me. You become like their family, part of their support network.

“Colleagues pick their time to talk to you. It can be outside of work, over a coffee in the canteen and I’ve taken urgent requests for guidance in the middle of the night.

“Mental Health First Aiders are not doctors and we can’t give medical help but we can steer people in the right direction.

“I find the role very rewarding. At times of difficulty, lots of people in life just need a little support and they don’t know where to access it. Our role gives us the opportunity to help.

“I’m proud of what we have achieved at Long Sutton and Wisbech and that the program is being rolled out to our other sites.”

Between Long Sutton and the Wisbech canning factory in Cambridgeshire, the two sites collectively produce more than a billion cans of branded and customer own brand food a year and employ hundreds of people.

Long Sutton in Lincolnshire is Princes largest food production site in the UK and where the company produces a range of canned food including baked beans, vegetables, fruit, pulses, pasta and meatballs.

Wisbech is home to the well-known household soup brand Crosse & Blackwell.

The Mental Health First Aiders programme is part of Princes’ People Excellence Strategy and its Health & Wellbeing offering.

Last month (February), Princes launched a new Health & Wellbeing Campaign with a major focus on mental health. Princes’ Chief People Officer Joe Dent talked in a film about his own personal mental health challenges and coping mechanisms.


Princes reports 100% of its branded tuna was responsibly sourced in 2021


~ Business achieves 100% responsibly sourced tuna commitment, despite Covid-related supply chain challenges ~

~ All tuna purchased for Princes brand in the UK and Netherlands came from either a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) or a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified source~

International food and drink group, Princes, has announced that it has achieved its long-standing ambition to responsibly source 100% of its branded tuna across the Group.  

In 2018 Princes announced its ambition to only purchase responsibly-sourced tuna for all its brands from fisheries that are either already MSC certified, engaged in a FIP (Fishery Improvement Project) that is working towards MSC certification, or from verified and well managed FAD Free or Pole and Line sources.

The Group has reported that 100% of its Princes branded tuna in the UK, Netherlands and Poland was sourced via a FIP or MSC-certified source in 2021. It’s Austrian Vier Diamanten brand was sourced principally from FAD Free and Pole and Line fisheries, meeting the requirements of customers in that market.

Neil Bohannon, Group Director for Seafood at Princes, said: “We’ve applied ourselves fully across all areas of our tuna sourcing to reach our 100% target. This has been achieved despite the significant supply chain pressures that businesses across the industry are continuing to face during this turbulent time, as a result of the pandemic.

“This has not been a short or simple journey, but it is a testament to what can be achieved through close collaboration with suppliers, hard work and a firm commitment to driving sustainability. Our efforts now turn to continuing to uphold this pledge, to support the continuous improvement and long-term sustainability of tuna fisheries.”

The business works closely with suppliers to encourage improvement and FIP participation as well as playing an active role in advocacy through the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) and the Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA) [MD1] to improve tuna sustainability.

In 2019, Princes was one of the founding partners of Senegal pole and line tuna FIP in Senegal. This followed Princes’ investment as a founding member of the Sustainable Indian Ocean Tuna Initiative (SIOTI), a partnership of tuna processors, vessel owners, government agencies and WWF to help the purse seine fishery in the region meet MSC sustainability standards.

Princes is also a founding partner of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), established in 2009, and plays an active leadership role in the organisation’s important work and projects to advance the sustainability of tuna stocks and their ecosystems through a science-based research approach.

Princes’ two tuna processing sites in Mauritius are MSC Chain of Custody certified and both hold SA8000 certification for social accountability.


 [MD1]Permission granted to cite


Princes and Oxfam collaborate to protect workers’ rights in Italian tomato supply chain


International food and drink group, Princes, has established a new partnership with Oxfam Italy as part of ongoing efforts to protect workers’ rights across the tomato supply chain of its popular Italian cooking brand, Napolina.

The collaboration with Oxfam Italy involves the roll-out of monitoring processes and the independent assessment of human rights initiatives implemented by the Group’s Italian tomato processing facility, Princes Industrie Alimentari (PIA).

These initiatives are designed to tackle exploitation challenges within the supply chains of both direct suppliers, and other producers across the Apulia region. They include schemes to provide training on labour rights, ethical practices, and safety at work, as well as health insurance to cover medical examinations and certificates, access to a ‘help desk’ service for workers employed in the fields, and safe transport for fieldworkers.

Napolina and PIA have taken various steps to enhance social sustainability across the tomato supply chain, investing in the protection of human rights to support the fight against exploitation practices, such as the Caporale (gangmaster) system. According to recent research from Italy’s National Labour Inspectorate, exploitation practices are on the rise throughout the country, especially in affluent areas. The report revealed that from 2020 to 2021, over 68% [1]of companies in Southern Italy were identified as irregular, with the agriculture industry remaining the most exposed sector.

The Caporale’s control often has far-reaching and negative impacts on the lives of workers in the Southern Italian tomato supply chain, through illegal wages, poor working conditions, lack of contracts and forced labour.

Andy Hargraves, Group Director for Italian Products, said: “This collaboration with Oxfam Italy is another important step forward in our ongoing journey to foster social equity and protect workers’ rights throughout the “100% Made in Italy” tomato supply chain. Thanks to this valuable partnership, we are developing a robust training framework for our growers and their workers, which we hope will be a source of inspiration for other companies across both the tomato supply chain, and the broader Italian agriculture sector. At the same time, we are strengthening transparency through monitoring processes to ensure we offer customers industry-leading standards in ethical sourcing, while demonstrating the action we are taking to improve conditions for the producers of Napolina tomatoes.”

Giorgia Ceccarelli, Oxfam Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights said: “Oxfam has long engaged brands and food companies to ensure that they take responsibility to tackle human rights issues in their supply chains. We have entered into this collaboration because there is a concrete opportunity to strengthen how local stakeholders work together as a means to improve conditions for thousands of workers who are vulnerable to exploitation. It is a welcome step that PIA and Napolina have committed to undertake a three-year initiative that aims to enhance growers’ sustainability and protect human and workers’ rights in the Italian tomato value chain. We will be regularly monitoring the progress that is made and how these commitments are being translated into positive outcomes for workers.”

The partnership is an integral part of Princes’ recently expanded agreement with leading Italian agricultural association, Coldiretti, to enhance the social, environmental, and economic value of the tomato supply chain. This involves a commitment from PIA and Napolina for guaranteed three-year supply contracts to enhance financial stability for growers, and work with the University of Foggia to ensure that the pricing of tomatoes reflects the true costs of growing and harvesting to enable the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Through collaborations with partners like Coldiretti and Oxfam Italy, Napolina and PIA are playing an important role in highlighting the positive changes that can be made to historical ways of working in Southern Italy. In the UK, consumers can see the origins of Napolina tomatoes via on pack Quick Response (QR) code technology, and PIA has been recognised by UK supermarkets for its work in addressing human rights issues in the Italian tomato supply chain.

Napolina and PIA were also recognised at the end of last year by Oxfam Italy for ongoing efforts to tackle inequality and poverty in the Italian tomato supply chain, through a 2021 ‘Fighting inequality: It can be done’ award. The award was received in the ‘Building Alternatives to Inequality’ category for PIA’s ‘Lavoro Senza Frontiere’ (Work Without Borders) initiative – launched in collaboration with on-the-ground charity, Caritas, in 2018, to train and find roles for victims of modern slavery in Southern Italy.

At its Foggia plant – the largest tomato processing site in Europe – PIA processes around 200,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes from the Apulian district annually and is supplied exclusively by producers who must hold Global G.A.P. GRASP or SA8000 certifications. In addition, all of PIA’s tomato growers must be enrolled on the ‘Rete De Lavoro’, a Ministry of Labour public register of businesses fully compliant with labour and human rights legislation and transparent payment of wages.

[1] National Labour Inspectorate – 2021 La Repubblica interview


Princes reports continued growth for 2020/21 financial year


Group announces operating profit of £47.4m, up 30% from 2019/20

International food and drink group, Princes, has published its latest annual results, revealing a profit growth of 30% in the year to March 2021. The Group has reported an operating profit of £47.4m, up from £33.1m, while revenue increased from £1.533bn to £1.558bn.

Princes Group financial performance – 2020/21

  2021  2020
  £’000  £’000
  Revenue  1,558,575    1,533,093
  Gross profit  280,226    272,353
Profit before tax, excluding restructuring costs and impairment charges  46,235  30,449
  Operating profit  47,482    33,158

Cameron Mackintosh, Managing Director at Princes, said:

“In the 2020/21 financial year, we reported an operating profit of £47.4m, up from £33.1m last year.While spikes in demand during Covid-19 have naturally impacted results as we worked to feed the nation during lockdown, we also experienced significant increases in costs in our business to ensure continuity of supply and the safety of our colleagues.

“It is also clear that the strategic plan we initiated four years ago to drive growth and respond to challenging market conditions is proving successful. This approach, as well as shifts in eating and shopping habits, are continuing to stimulate reappraisal of ambient food, as consumers take a fresh look at the convenience, quality and affordability of the category.

“Over the past year, we have progressed and concluded several landmark development programmes, accelerated our innovation plans to better meet consumer and customer needs, and made important progress in our sustainability and ethical trade agenda – all while adjusting our ways of working and responding effectively to the impacts of the pandemic and Brexit”.

“Today, we are an innovative, consumer-first business which is evolving and adapting to rapid changes across the food and drink industry, and working to support the families we serve. I am incredibly proud of the role that all Princes colleagues have played in driving this transformation”.

“Looking ahead to 2022, we will continue to drive progress to realise our strategic ambitions and growth plans, while striving to achieve our vision of proudly helping families to eat well, without costing the Earth.”

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the dedication of Princes colleagues played a vital role in meeting customer and consumer demand, as well as helping charities in their ongoing efforts to feed the nation and support communities during this challenging time. Since the pandemic started, Princes has distributed over 1,000,000 products across the UK, Italy and Mauritius to food charities, including FareShare with whom it has been partnered in the UK since 2013

Key business developments – 2020/21

Several initiatives have completed or are in progress to ensure Princes can build on its transformational changes, to drive growth and respond to challenging market conditions:

  • Investments of over £150m in UK manufacturing sites are nearing or have reached conclusion, driving efficiencies and excellence in production
  • Princes sold its Eden Valley bottled water site and Aqua Pura brand and no longer operates in the plain bottled water market
  • A three year, £5m innovation project has seen the launch of Innov8, which was recently expanded with a new co-creation initiative for retailers, Co-Labs – which will help Princes customers to embrace emergent trends, utilise cutting edge technology and leverage insight from a now 3,000-strong consumer community, to identify products that will prove commercially successful
  • Sustainability initiatives continue to be a major focus – the Group announced its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality across its UK and international operations by 2030, building on a 23% reduction in carbon emissions since 2014/15
  • Ongoing projects at Princes, and its range of brands, are also set to reduce carbon emissions by 1,100 tonnes and remove 900 tonnes of plastic (the equivalent of over 26 million plastic bottles) from product packaging across the Group, annually
  • In October, Princes announced it has reached its ambitious goal of reducing Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna sourcing by 50% on 2017 levels, a year ahead of its 2022 deadline
  • Committed to reinforcing ethical working practices, the Group also recently expanded a partnership with Italian agricultural association, Coldiretti, to enhance the ethical, environmental, and economic value of the Italian tomato supply chain of its Napolina tomatoes
  • Princes was awarded Employer of the Year at the prestigious Grocer Gold Awards in October for its ‘Our Princes Our People’ programme.



Princes Group reports food waste progress


International food and drink group, Princes, has published food waste data for its global operations, reporting that just 1.6% of total food handled by the business was wasted in the year to March 2021. Globally, Princes reduced overall food waste by 12.84% since last year, and 4% across the Group’s UK sites.

Of the 69,456 tonnes of food waste generated across Princes’ global operations, 20,636 tonnes were sent to anaerobic digestion plants to be converted to energy, while 45,726 tonnes were used for animal feed. Additionally, 202 tonnes were redistributed to charities including FareShare, the UK’s leading food waste and hunger charity.

As a signatory to the Champions 12.3 coalition of organisations dedicated to accelerating progress towards tackling global food waste, Princes has adopted the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3 – “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”. Princes is also committed to maintaining zero to landfill waste across its UK operations, and accelerating progress towards achieving this across all international operations.

David McDiarmid, Corporate Relations Director at Princes, said: “As one of the UK’s leading grocery brands and food and drink manufacturers, we have a clear responsibility to address the issue of food waste from farm to fork, and take it very seriously. In the last year we have continued to make good progress across our global operations, during what was of course a very challenging year for colleagues at our sites. This work is very much ongoing, as we continue to explore all opportunities to accelerate further action to reduce waste, and ensure that whatever we have is re-purposed.”

“Partners, including WRAP, whose inaugural Food Waste Action Week we supported earlier this year, have highlighted the role that food waste plays in climate change. This is why food waste targets are included in our 2030GreenGoals sustainability programme for our factories, as we strive to meet our company vision to ‘Proudly help families to eat well without costing the Earth’.

As well as taking action in our own operations, we will continue to engage our suppliers to target, measure and act on their waste, and must also continue to raise awareness among consumers to help them reduce waste in the home.”

Continued progress to reduce waste and reuse materials is key to Princes’ 2030GreenGoals initiative, which outlines the Group’s ambition to cut food waste by 50% through prevention and positive use and become a carbon neutral business across its UK and international operations by 2030. This pledge builds on important progress made since 2014/2015 to reduce the Group’s carbon emissions, which represents a 23% decrease of over 34,000 tonnes of CO2.