A campaign to protect British bees has launched after warnings that the dwindling population may impact the food industry.

One in every three bites of food is pollinated by bees, according to campaigners, so Foodservice provider Bidfood has launched a drive to back them, as bee species numbers decline.

In the past 180 years, two UK species of bees have become extinct. Bee's polinate fruit, vegetables and animal crops, and calculations from the University of Reading show that replacing bee pollination with hand pollination could cost farmers £1.8 billion a year in labour and pollen alone, which could in turn send food prices skyrocketing.

The company is running a year-long campaign by involving 25 Bidfood sites across the UK which will be building bee ‘hotels’, creating bee-friendly gardens and helping local bee keepers by donating sugar and sponsoring local hives.

Bidfood’s Paddock Wood depot in Kent has three hives and around 300,000 bees, and has introduced fruit trees and bee-friendly plants and flowers to help aid the pollination process.

Speaking about the campaign, site excellence manager and lead beekeeper, Mike Apps, said: “One in three bites of food is only possible thanks to bees pollinating our crops. It’s easy to take something so small for granted, but the importance of bees to the food industry, and our survival, is huge.

“Our campaign is already gathering a great deal of momentum across the business. Addressing the issue doesn’t necessarily require owning a hive, planting the right flowers can help bees to pollinate and flourish for future generations.”