Waitrose

Waitrose stocks Israeli basil, tarragon, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, chives, sage, oregano, mint, curly leaf parsley, 'Red Rosa' pears, sharon fruit, passion fruit, figs, lychees, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, strawberries, pomelos, pomegranates, galia melons, dragonfruit, organic medjoul dates, hadrawi dates, “Deglet Nour” dates, Cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, 'Pamino' peppers, 'Red Romano' peppers, mixed peppers, goods from the Tivall vegetarian food range, 'Food for Thought' snacks by Beigel & Beigel, cold meat, biscuits, dips and Dead Sea Magik cosmetics (found in John Lewis stores).

Waitrose has refused to enter into any debate about the sale of Israeli goods and its management has repeatedly refused to meet with campaigners. In February 2009, a spokesperson for the store reiterated that Waitrose was "unable to arrange a meeting". In a letter to one customer, Waitrose said: "Whatever our own views may be about Israeli products, we do not think it is right to ask our buyers to base their choice of products on any other criteria than the commercial ones of quality and value for money."

Waitrose stocks goods from illegal Israeli settlements and has been unresponsive to the ITN and More 4 reports which have led other stores to label their goods more clearly. The supermarket chain stocks a large range of products sourced from Carmel Agrexco, including a wide variety of organic herbs and vegetables grown on Israeli settlements, mainly in the Jordan Valley, and certified as organic by the Soil Association. Although Waitrose has not made statements to the press about labelling, a store spokesperson said "we clearly label our food to enable our customers to make informed choices." It appears unclear, however, whether Waitrose still labels some goods from illegal settlements as 'Made in Israel'.

According to War on Want's Profiting from the Occupation report, Waitrose sells Beigel and Beigel products. Beigel and Beigel Ltd. is located in the Barkan industrial zone in the occupied West Bank and produces pretzels, savoury biscuits and crackers.

The John Lewis Partnership is one of the only large retailers to sell Ahava beauty products. Ahava is a settlement company based on the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Waitrose also sells dates from settler company Hadiklaim (see above).

Waitrose claims that, if it ceased to deal with Israeli settlements, it would impact on Palestinian farmers. In correspondence with consumers, the retailer has described the settlement farms it works with as "joint Israeli and Palestinian" enterprises. In February 2009, a spokesperson wrote: "We currently take organic cut herbs from two farms in the West Bank on which a mixed Palestinian-Israeli workforce have worked side by side for many years."

Waitrose has responded to some concerns about the conditions of labourers on settlement farms. However, the response has been to assure customers that each 'supplier' audits the relevant settlement farms using a "tight criteria" that relates to "worker hours, salaries and employment contracts." This effectively means that Waitrose entrusts the auditing of settlement farms to the settlement company supplying the produce, presumably Carmel Agrexco. Waitrose claims that its technical directors have inspected its supplier farms in the West Bank.

Overall, Waitrose has been one of the most intransigent British supermarkets when faced with concern over sale of Israeli produce and Israeli settler produce. The chain has been the subject of protests and pickets across the UK, including in Brighton and London where protesters dressed as burglars and displayed banners claiming "Waitrose sells stolen goods".

Address:
Waitrose Customer Service Department
Waitrose Limited
Doncastle Road
Bracknell
Berkshire
RG12 8YA
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

JOHN LEWIS & WAITROSE PARTNERSHIPS ( - - an early proponent of ethical trade)

"Our aim is to raise awareness, encourage suppliers to be honest about the issues they face . . . . "
(Partnership Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2007)

Waitrose refers to the West Bank as "disputed territory" and argues that it labelled its herbs "West Bank, as per the guidelines from the EU.   In a letter to one concerned customer, Waitrose said: "Whatever our own views may be about Israeli products, we do not think it is right to ask our buyers to base their choice of products on any other criteria than the commercial ones of quality and value for money."

Herbs
Fresh (possibly organic) herbs : Basil, Tarragon, Thyme, Lemon Thyme,  rosemary, chives, sage, oregano, mint. curly leaf parsley.  Packaging varies - some branded as Waitrose, some openly acknowledge Israeli source, some with no country of origin)

Fruit
Red Rosa pears Sharon fruit, Passion fruit, Fresh figs, pomelos, pomegranates, Hass avocados
Organic Medjool Dates  (In one supermarket all dates were Israeli, not just Medjool. This was discovered when the front wrapper was peeled back.) Hadrawi dates, Deglet Nour dates, Galia melons, Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, grapes, strawberries, lychees, fresh figs,plums and luxury produce like dragonfruit  All are sold under many brand names including Carmel, Jaffa and Coral.

Vegetables
Cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes Pamino peppers, Red Romano peppers (also from Holland) mixed peppers from Israel and a second country, organic peppers, mixed colour Romano peppers, baby new potatoes

General
Tivall vegetarian food range “Food for Thought”, snacks by Beigel & Beigel , cold meat, biscuits, dips 
Dead Sea Magik cosmetics (found in John Lewis)

Direct Action Against Israel – Part 2
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3207

Palestine Israel Ethical Shopping Initiative
http://www.easi-piesi.org/john%20lewis.html