► Sustainability

Our mission is to create a winning organisation where our colleagues can thrive. We do this through nurturing and developing talent, promoting an inclusive workplace and supporting physical and mental well-being.

Our ESG strategy identifies which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) we can have an impact on:


Alignment to UN SDGs

We want all of our colleagues to realise their full potential and contribute to creating an environment where everyone can succeed. From providing bespoke training opportunities, to encouraging diversity and promoting an inclusive workplace, to supporting our colleagues’ physical and mental health – we are committed to creating a rewarding and enjoyable place to work.

Our KPIs

Attracting talent and developing skills:
  • Support and develop graduates and apprentices to progress their career with us.
  • Provide extensive training opportunities to our colleagues via online platforms.
  • Promote our industry through collaboration with the IGD.
Inclusion and Diversity (I&D):
  • Monitor and report on I&D to understand and remove potential blocks.
  • Deliver face-to-face training and ongoing support to all leaders within our business.
  • Provide awareness training to all colleagues by the end of 2023.
Caring for our people:
  • Embed a culture of risk prevention at all sites with our ‘Be Safe’ and Total Observation Process (TOP) health and safety programmes.
  • Deliver annual Health and Well-being plans at our sites aligned to the top three areas of interest of our colleagues.
  • Increase awareness of good mental health by providing training to all colleagues by the end of 2022.

Attracting talent and developing skills

When we welcome colleagues into our business – no matter at what level – we help them develop the confidence and skills to move up the career ladder.

Our apprenticeship and graduate programmes feed a future pipeline of skilled individuals for roles across our business, offer fantastic career prospects and career progression for existing colleagues.


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Our ‘Future Leader’ graduate programme provides an excellent foundation for a career in the food and drink industry and enables us to harness and nurture emerging talent. We offer four distinct programmes - within our commercial (sales and marketing), finance, procurement and IT teams. During their programme, our graduates also typically undertake three placement roles and participate in a series of external training modules designed to help them develop core business skills including commercial awareness, presenting, and managing change.

We are proud to have maintained our graduate programme this year and recreated the atmosphere of our graduate selection centre in a digital environment. We then welcomed 15 new graduates who have successfully started their first rotation remotely in September.

"Joining a company through mainly virtual means was certainly daunting, however, all those involved in the onboarding process ensured that everything ran really smoothly, and we were still able to gain great exposure to multiple areas of the business during our induction process. I am currently working within the Corporate Services Procurement team and have felt extremely welcomed by everyone from the start. Being part of the Graduate scheme has allowed me to have a great balance of learning and development alongside the opportunity and responsibility to progress within my own role, whilst showcasing these new skills. I am really enjoying the scheme so far and I can't wait to see what my future career at Premier Foods will entail."

Lydia McCarthy
Procurement Associate


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Our long-running apprentice and graduate programmes provide fantastic career development and simultaneously help us attract new talent and upskill existing colleagues. These programmes also play a critically important role in addressing the skills gap faced by our industry both now and in the future, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based roles. In a year that has brought unprecedented disruption to our ways of working, we are proud to have not only continued to support colleagues on existing apprentice and graduate programmes, but also to have welcomed many more into the business whilst expanding our programme offering. At any given time, around 90 colleagues are on our apprenticeship programmes, of which around 25% will be new recruits. This year has been no exception, with an additional 37 colleagues embarking on an apprenticeship with us, of whom 25 were new joiners, and 12 were existing colleagues looking to develop their career. As well as continuing to offer apprenticeships across a wide range of business functions and roles - including in Food Operations, Laboratory Science, Packaging Technology, L&D, HR, Sales and Business Administration – in January of this year we launched programmes within R&D and IT for the first time. Reflecting the positive experience of our apprentices, in 2020 we retained our position within Rate My Apprenticeship’s top 100 apprentice employers list for a fourth consecutive year.

Training Opportunities

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When we welcome colleagues into our business – no matter at what level – we help them develop the confidence and skills to move up the career ladder.

To support our colleagues working from home during the pandemic, we intensified our digital learning opportunities and continued to invest in self-led learning tools, including LinkedIn Learning for all IT-enabled colleagues. Our colleagues have watched over 42,000 training videos to date, the equivalent of 2,109 hours of learning or 281 working days.

Learning at Work Week

This year, we actively supported Learning at Work Week, a national campaign that celebrates lifelong learning at work and promotes the development of learning cultures. Using the word ‘Learn’ as a mnemonic device, we developed a programme for our colleagues focused around five key areas – LinkedIn learning, Educational, Aspiration, Resilience and New techniques – and dedicated a day of the working week to each. Throughout the week we saw a notable uplift of 61% in traffic to our e-learning platforms. Our efforts were recognised by the Open University Business School, who awarded us a Commended status.


Fairness and equality of opportunity

We strongly believe that diversity of people fosters diversity of thought, which is vital with innovation at the heart of our business strategy.

Diversity and Inclusion

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We are committed to creating an inclusive culture across our whole organisation, where everyone is welcome and able to thrive. We aim to ensure all existing and potential colleagues are provided with equal opportunity and are respected, valued and encouraged to bring their true authentic selves to work.

This year we’ve taken significant strides to fulfil our commitment to Inclusion and Diversity (I&D), focusing on four key areas: leadership, education, recruitment and talent management, and data:

Our ELT is a passionate sponsor of our I&D agenda, and this year we appointed a Director of Talent and Culture, as well as a Culture and Engagement Business Partner to provide increased focus and accelerate our progress. We have delivered a programme focused on Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership to over 550 leaders and managers, a first key step to creating the right environment for all colleagues. Next, we plan to roll the training out to all sitebased colleagues by 2023. We have also introduced a Reverse Mentoring Programme where senior managers are paired up with a more junior colleague of the opposite sex who fulfils the role of mentor. The programme encourages sponsorship and helps to address the gender imbalance within senior roles across the business.

We launched #oktobeme, a programme dedicated to encouraging colleagues to bring their true, authentic selves to work, supported by a network of I&D Ambassadors from across the business who will help to embed a culture of inclusivity. Colleagues celebrated International Men’s Day, International Women’s Week, Black History Month, Pride and TransDay of Visibility with inspiring guest speakers.

After identifying, through data analysis, that the attraction and recruitment stages are key to driving improvements in organisational diversity, we introduced a new software, 'Job Analyser' which assesses our use of language within job adverts and ensures language is not gender biased.

To drive our I&D agenda forward, and understand the gaps which need acting on, we ran our first voluntary Diversity Data Capture Survey. With a pleasing 52% response rate, the survey will help us understand our diversity landscape enabling us to build bespoke programmes and make better informed Decisions.

Current legislation requires that we report on our gender pay gap for any legal entities that employ more than 250 colleagues. We have decided to go beyond this and monitor the gender pay gap for all entities within the Group, as we believe it depicts a truer picture. You can view our latest Gender Pay Gap report here.

Promoting Our Industry

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Within our organisation, approximately 90% of our workforce is employed at our manufacturing sites, where roles attract more men than women and labour turnover is low. This makes it difficult to significantly improve these results in the short to medium term. To address the skills gap faced by our industry in critical areas including Science, Technology Engineering and Manufacturing (STEM) based roles, we continue to play an active part in driving awareness of our sector, and promoting the breadth of career opportunities that exist within it. We work in partnership with the IGD to support their Feeding Britain’s Future schools campaign. This year we’ve supported their Virtual Work Experience Week programmes with more than 20 colleagues participating – reaching more than 1,000 students.

Caring for our colleagues

Health and Safety

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The health and safety of our colleagues, contractors and visitors is of paramount importance to us, and was taken extremely seriously with the challenges faced in 2020. We are proud to maintain one of the lowest accident rates within the food industry.

Our Be Safe programme, which encourages colleagues to identify and discuss both safe and unsafe actions within their workplace, has progressed along with Social Distancing audits, ensuring our high standards are maintained. In the last 12 months, colleagues have identified a total of 6,747 Safe Acts and 3,522 Unsafe Acts (for 4,487 Safe Acts and 2,824 Unsafe Acts last year). This helps our manufacturing sites to target their resources and improve safety in the most effective areas. The Total Observation Process (TOP) continues to be successful in identifying hazards in the workplace and ensuring they are addressed before any incident occurs. In the last 12 months, 3,031 potential risks (4,236 last year) were identified, and actions taken to address these across the business. Our sites also progressed towards achieving ISO 45001 certification (except two sites where audits were delayed to later in 2021).

The Board reviews health and safety performance at every scheduled Board meeting, which includes Lost Time Accidents (‘LTA’), which represent accidents that result in a colleague having to take time off work; and Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (‘RIDDOR’) where incidents are reported to the regulatory body. The latter covers accidents resulting in serious injury, over seven days absence from work and dangerous occurrences. The average RIDDOR rate for the UK food manufacturing industry is 0.52 RIDDOR reportable accident per 100,000 hours worked. We operate at a significantly better rate and our goal is to sustain or improve upon this average. In the last 12 months we are proud to have achieved a rate of 0.02, approx. 26 times better than the industry average.


Employee Health and Well-being

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We continue to make every effort to look after the health and well-being of our colleagues. Through our dedicated Occupational Health team, we provide professional, specialist advice to colleagues on the effects of work on their health. We advise our colleagues on ways to improve physical and psychological wellbeing within the workplace and provide them with strategies to prevent illness and injury. Building on the results of our 2019 Health Needs Assessment, and the areas our colleagues told us they would welcome support with, this year we’ve focused our Health and Well-being plans on health checks, healthy eating and weight management, and mental health. As signatories of the Time to Change Pledge since 2019, we’ve taken significant steps to improve how we support our colleagues’ mental health. This year, all colleagues have been given access to one of our 93 colleagues who are certified Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs), and over two thirds of our Line Managers have completed Mental Health Awareness Training (350 out of 495). We had aimed for all Line Managers to have undergone this training, but Covid-19 restrictions at our factories meant delays have been inevitable. We are now working to complete the roll-out and will extend training to all colleagues by April 2022.

Providing extra support to our colleagues during Covid-19


Considering the pandemic and its impact on societal well-being, this year we took the decision to provide additional resources to help our colleagues look after their mental health. As well as benefitting from continued free access to our Employee Assistance Programme (Lifeworks), and from industry charity GroceryAid, we created dedicated pages on our intranet and employee benefits platform to signpost colleagues to mental health support tools. We also made GP appointments easier to access by enabling colleagues to book virtual check-ins via the Aviva GP and Well-being apps. During Mental Health Week, we organised several events, including a lunch session entitled ‘It’s ok not to be ok’, designed to encourage colleagues to ask for help and speak to their family, friends or colleagues if they felt overwhelmed. The week also included a virtual session with professional rugby players Danny Sculthorpe and Phil Vievers, encouraging everyone to lift the taboo on men’s mental health and seek help if needed, with around 300 colleagues attending this virtual event.



Our case studies


Apprenticeship Programme

Hear from our Apprentices

Apprenticeships can prove one of the most practical ways for people to learn, enabling them to develop and hone new knowledge and skills whilst remaining in paid employment. We offer apprenticeships to both existing colleagues and new recruits, with programmes ranging from Technical Operators, Food Technologists, Software Development, Continuous Improvement and beyond. Our programmes cover all levels of prior experience, meaning they are a truly inclusive route to career progression. Since 2017, our apprenticeship schemes have supported the training and development of more than 100 colleagues.

Hear from our past and current Apprentices...

“I have worked for Premier Foods for 20 years and it is great to have the opportunity to still take part in the scheme. It means I can learn a new role while working and at the end, I will have a nationally recognised qualification. Also within food manufacturing, equipment is becoming increasingly complex so it's been great to have the chance to learn and adapt.”
(Tabrez Javaid – Machine Technical Operator Apprentice, Stoke manufacturing site)

“When I saw Premier Foods was recruiting for apprentices, I thought it was a great way for me to get a qualification while working for a well-known food manufacturer. The scheme was really good, with training and advice always available. If I needed help on shift, my colleagues were there to support me and I had a mentor for any queries around my coursework. As a result, I have gained many skills.”
(Antonia Oakley, Technical Operator Apprentice, Worksop manufacturing site)

“As part of my apprenticeship I complete basic Continuous Improvement (CI) duties on six different lines within the factory. I’m always being exposed to new elements of the business and trying out new tasks every day which has led me to have a much wider knowledge of the business than I necessarily would somewhere else.”
(Gareth Thompson – Formerly completed a Continuous Improvement Apprenticeship. Now Improvement Coordinator, Carlton manufacturing site)


Graduate Programme

Hear from our Graduates

Our Graduate Programmes provide an excellent foundation for a career in the food and drink sector and enable us to harness and nurture emerging talent. We offer four distinct programmes - within our Commercial (Sales and Marketing), Finance, Procurement and IT teams - and since 2014 have welcomed over 80 Graduates on to the programme and supported their early career development. From the moment they join us, all our Graduates embark on a two-year Graduate Development Programme. This includes a series of external training modules designed to help them develop core business skills including commercial awareness, presenting, and managing change. During their Programme, our Graduates also typically undertake three placement roles that are appropriate to their Graduate scheme. This ensures they get relevant exposure to our business before they complete the programme and have the opportunity to apply for a permanent role.

Hear from our past and current Graduates...


“Since starting the Procurement Graduate programme in 2015, I have had the opportunity to work in several different areas of procurement. I liked the fact that I was given responsibility and treated as a real part of the team straight away. Being part of a cross-functional cohort of graduates meant that I got a lot of support and this helped me to build my network throughout the business. After progressing through the procurement scheme, I decided I wanted to build my experience in another function. Premier supported me in this move and after 4 years in procurement I was able to leverage the skills and connections I had built throughout the graduate scheme to move into a new role in Category Development.”

Naomi Spray
Category Executive within our Category Development & Shopper Marketing team. Completed 2015 Graduate Procurement programme

“The Commercial Graduate Programme gave me exposure to various areas of the business including field sales, brand marketing and e-commerce. This in turn gave me a strong commercial understanding and knowledge of our products and retail channels. Upon completing the programme I was appointed National Account Executive for Morrisons, and within 12 months I was promoted to National Account Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups category where I was responsible for managing and delivering the joint business plan with full P&L responsibility. To widen my experience I subsequently moved into Commercial Planning on Home Baking, more recently being promoted to Commercial Planning Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups category - a role I've been able to hit the ground running with on account of my sales experience of the category. The icing on the cake was to be nominated by the business for the Rising Star award at the 2019 Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Awards, which I went onto win.”

Jessica Kelly
Commercial Planning Manager for the Quick Meals, Snacks and Soups Category. Completed 2015 Commercial Graduate programme

“I joined the Finance Graduate Scheme in September 2018 and from the first day you really do hit the ground running. My first rotation was within Commercial Finance, business partnering the internal Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon and Co-Op teams. The support that Premier gives you is incredible, with so much to learn and get involved in. My first rotation allowed me add value to discussions and negotiations by providing financial analysis and challenging the norms. My second rotation is a newly created rotation in Premier’s shared service centre (PBS) in Manchester. I pushed to make this a rotation due to the valuable knowledge I knew I would gain from invoicing, SG&A to product costing and how vital these components are to the success of the business as a whole. Premier Foods sponsors all Finance graduates to become chartered, giving you the choice between ACA, ACCA or CIMA. They fully fund everything from exams to college whilst also giving you a generous amount of study days off per exam. Additionally, one of the best things about the graduate scheme for me is the level of support you receive, as you are given a Buddy, a Mentor and a Line Manager. This allows you to learn from others to develop professionally."

Jasprit Singh
Joined 2018 Financial Graduate programme