Asda is to beef up the presence of Welsh produce in its stores with a swathe of product launches that could be rolled out beyond Wales if successful.

The supermarket is holding talks this week with nine possible new Welsh suppliers, ranging from flour and ice cream to ready meals and organic meats, in an effort improve links with small producers.

Products are expected to go into Asda's 19 Welsh stores around Christmas, and could be rolled out further as part of the retailer's drive to source more local and regional lines.

"Small producers often don't know how to become effective suppliers to supermarkets," said Rachel Turner, managing director of Levercliff Associates, the marketing consultancy working with Asda on the project.

"We want to help these suppliers understand what supermarkets are looking for as the process can be time-consuming."

The nine new companies include Kid Me Not, suppliers of goats' milk and cheese, and Baraka Foods, which specialises in pre-cooked barbecue ribs.

A further five existing suppliers, including Welsh Cottage Cakes and Welsh Pantry, will also join the meeting to look at extending their relationships with Asda.

Turner added that the companies would supply the supermarkets either direct-to-store or through Asda's regional hub, at Castell Howell Foods in Cross Hands.

The Welsh products would be merchandised within their categories but would have their origins flagged up on shelf, added Turner.

The programme, backed by the Welsh Assembly, will be followed up with a series of workshops hosted by Levercliff Associates to help small producers tap into the supermarket mindset.

Asda said it was on track to reach its goal of stocking about 3,500 local products, supplied by more than 300 local suppliers, by the end of this year.

By then, it estimates that the food hubs will have saved seven million food miles since their introduction.

Asda now has a network of 15 local and regional sourcing bases across the country since it launched the initiative in 2002.