Five of the best known tomato growers have set up new marketing company Fresh Link Marketing to exclusively serve Sainsbury, although individually they will continue to supply other retailers.
Wight Salads, the Jersey Produce Marketing Organisation, Foxash Growers, John Baarda and Eric Wall will account for around 50% of the multiple's requirement during the summer months, said marketing director Paul Faulkner. "They all have an equal stake in the company, based at Wall's offices in Barnham, West Sussex.
The group grows traditional salad, on-the-vine and cherry tomatoes including the branded Flavouripe range for Sainsbury.
Four of the five members of FLM had worked together in Humber VHN before it was dismembered, and had now attracted Eric Wall. "The major benefit has been to create sufficient scale to provide the type of service Sainsbury requires," said Faulkner, "as well as growing a balance of commodity crops as well as specialities."