HRH The Prince of Wales visits Waitrose & Partners’ Headquarters

Thursday 4 April 2019

  • HRH The Prince of Wales officially opened the new Waitrose & Partners Food Innovation Studio today
  • Waitrose & Partners announces £1 billion sales milestone for Waitrose Duchy Organic brand with £23.5 million contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causes

HRH The Prince of Wales visited the Waitrose & Partners headquarters in Berkshire today to carry out the official opening of the Royal Warrant Holder’s new Food Innovation Studio. The cutting edge product development facility is part of Waitrose & Partners’ commitment to being the most innovative, high quality food retailer in the supermarket sector.

The Prince of Wales was given a guided tour of the new studio, which includes an innovation kitchen, a cookery theatre for training courses, a dedicated ideas room and five tasting rooms where Waitrose & Partners’ food team work together with producers on product development.

During the visit, His Royal Highness also met with Waitrose Partners who create and develop products for the Waitrose Duchy Organic range, the food brand originally founded by The Prince of Wales in 1990 to champion organic farming. Waitrose & Partners acquired the exclusive licence to develop and distribute Waitrose Duchy Organic ten years ago.

It was announced during the visit that total sales of the Waitrose Duchy Organic brand since the brand came to Waitrose & Partners have now surpassed £1 billion and that these sales have generated a contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causes of over £23.5 million.

Rob Collins, Managing Director, Waitrose & Partners said: ‘It was a great honour to welcome The Prince of Wales to our new Food Innovation Studio and show him the work we do here.”

He added  ‘As pioneers of  organic food in supermarkets we were proud to be entrusted with the Duchy Originals brand in 2009, and delighted to announce today that sales over the last 10 years of Waitrose Duchy Organic products have now exceeded £1billion, generating a contribution to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund for donation to good causes of over £23.5 million.’

During the visit, The Prince of Wales met the Waitrose & Partners packaging team who showed some exciting new experimental packaging made out of langoustine shells. The shells, which would otherwise go to waste, are made into a cling film-like material which is currently being considered as a new type of packaging for Waitrose Duchy Organic Salmon in place of plastic.*

The Prince of Wales also followed the development journey of two new Waitrose Duchy Organic products: a delicious mincemeat for this year’s Duchy Organic Christmas range and a recipe for a roasted vegetable gratin which will be launched during Organic September.

The Prince of Wales met two producers, who make cider and grow apples for the Duchy Organic brand, and then observed the prospective Waitrose Duchy Organic mincemeat being put through its paces during a Waitrose & Partners ‘Product Panel’ session. This is a tasting and approval process which all new products go through, and must pass, if they are to make the shelves of Waitrose & Partners.


* This potential new innovative packaging format for Duchy Organic was introduced by CuanTec during a pitch day to reduce plastic waste for the John Lewis Partnership JLAB retail innovation programme. JLAB allows the John Lewis Partnership to work with start-ups and more established businesses on exciting new technologies and ideas.

Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners has 349 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. It combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. Waitrose & Partners is an employee-owned business - all employees are Partners and have a say in how the business is run.

Waitrose Duchy Organic

Waitrose & Partners has held the exclusive Duchy Originals licensing agreement since 2009.

The Prince of Wales founded Duchy Originals to promote organic farming and food production while generating funds for The Prince’s Charitable Fund which receives a donation each year from the sale of Waitrose Duchy Organic products.

The current range of Waitrose Duchy Organic has grown to over 300 products, from bacon to fresh fruit and vegetables to beer and is the largest own label organic brand in the UK. The brand is also popular overseas with products exported to over 30 countries worldwide, including Japan, Germany, USA, Australia, Dubai and Taiwan.

The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF)

PWCF was founded in 1979 to support HRH The Prince of Wales’s charitable work and aims to transform lives and build sustainable communities. PWCF is primarily a grant making body that supports initiatives such as conservation, health, environment, heritage and youth training projects in the UK and overseas.

The Duchy Future Farming Programme is one project funded by the PWCF from the royalty received from the sale of Waitrose Duchy Organic products. The network of farmers is backed by a team from LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), Innovation for Agriculture, the Organic Research Centre,  the Soil Association and is supported by Waitrose & Partners.

The Programme is delivered by the Soil Association and involves farmers from across the country developing innovative techniques aimed at improving yields and nutritional performance in organic and low-input agriculture.  At its heart is a network of on-farm events, led by farmers and growers, where they share their know-how, work with scientists to design field experiments, and pinpoint practical challenges.

In addition, PWCF has a charitable subsidiary -The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, it aims to enhance the prospect of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. The Prince’s Countryside Fund believes that the British countryside is our most valuable natural asset and its contribution to our everyday life cannot be underestimated  . PWCF also delivers the Accounting for Sustainability project.

Waitrose Food Innovation Studio

Waitrose & Partners opened the Food Innovation Studio at the Bracknell Headquarters in July 2018, as part of the commitment to being the best 5%, ensuring that both product and service give our customers the best possible experience. The new facility is part of Waitrose & Partners commitment to being the most innovative, high quality food retailer in the supermarket sector. Over £1.5M was invested in the Food Innovation Studio to focus on product innovation, helping to increase the pace of cutting edge products, including doubling the number of chefs working on food innovation. A team of five chefs now work at the Food Innovation Studio, led by Jonathan Moore, Executive Chef for Product Innovation & Own Brand.


Waitrose & Partners

Gill Smith
Partner & Senior Manager, Corporate PR 
Tel: 01344 825165