Waitrose has been hailed as a welfare champion after scooping the title of Compassionate Supermarket of the Year.

The food retail arm of the John Lewis Partnership was handed the award by the Compassion in World Farming Trust after beating competition from seven other retailers.

Waitrose was recognised for its high sales of free range and organic products, its commitment to reducing animal transport time and its stand against genetic engineering.

Kerry Burgess, CIWF’s campaigns director, said that Waitrose was a clear example of a supermarket “committed to making progress”. She also hailed the previous year’s winner, Marks and Spencer, which was honoured again this month with an award entitled Welfare Ideal - Most Advanced Supermarket.