John James Sainsbury's third son Frank
showed an aptitude for farming and managed Sainsbury's own farm at Blunt Hall in Little Wratting, near Haverhill in Suffolk. Frank farmed 2,000 acres of land, raising sheep, pigs and horses, growing crops such as sugar beet and collecting and packaging eggs.
He was dedicated to the idea of providing only the best quality meat and eggs for Sainsbury's. At this time, English and Irish eggs were often very old by the time they were consumed. French eggs had a better reputation due to the existence of egg-collecting schemes which ensured they came onto the market within three days of being laid.
Frank worked with Suffolk farmers to set up the first UK egg collection scheme. Eggs were collected from local farms and taken to the farm at Blunts Hall for testing and distribution. When it became clear that these eggs were as good as (and cheaper than) those from Brittany, demand outstripped supply.
The farm quickly became the largest meat and egg supplier to Sainsbury's. Pedigree boars were also kept there and used to improve the quality of local stock. An abattoir was built and the meat from Haverhill became the source for the sausages and cooked meat products produced by Sainsbury's factory at Blackfriars.
During the 1950s a pilot plant for the production of pre-packed sweetcure bacon was set up at the Blunts Hall farm. This led to the establishment (jointly by Sainsbury's and Canada Meat Packers) of Haverhill Meat Products, which supplied all Sainsbury's stores with bacon. The company was renamed NewMarket Foods in 1993.
In 1970 Sainsbury-Spillers Ltd was established as a joint venture with Spillers Ltd to operate the former Sainsbury's egg and poultry packing stations in East Anglia.