Bidfood is aiming to draw attention to the vital role played by bees in food production through a new initiative.
The pollination campaign will raise awareness of declining bee colonies in the UK through a series of activities that help foster a healthy environment for bees. These include building bee ‘hotels’, creating bee-friendly gardens and helping local bee keepers by donating sugar and sponsoring local hives.
Bidfood’s Paddock Wood depot, for instance, has three hives and approximately 300,000 bees, and has introduced fruit trees and bee-friendly plants and flowers to help aid the pollination process.
The caterer’s Basingstoke depot, meanwhile, has collaborated with local family-owned beekeepers and honey suppliers, Becky’s Bees, by sponsoring 50 hives at their site in Andover. It is also working with Hill Farm Oils, Bidfood’s supplier of rapeseed oil, by sponsoring the placement of 40 hives across 1,200 acres of rapeseed and borage.
Bees are critical to sustainable food production with 70 of the top 100 food crops pollinated by bees, accounting for around 90% of the world’s nutrition. However, colonies are in decline with the British Beekeepers Association noting that due to the expansion of global trading in recent years, bees are threatened by new parasites and diseases that have been brought into this country by error.
Bidfood’s site excellence manager and lead beekeeper, Mike Apps, said the campaign was gathering momentum across the business. “It’s easy to take something so small for granted, but the importance of bees to the food industry, and our survival, is huge,” he added.