Asda has unveiled a new food sourcing initiative it claims will act as a model for the whole supermarket industry.
The retailer has joined forces with Kent-based food distributor Bank Farm to supply more than 300 local products to five stores in Kent. This follows a trial at a store in the Lake District. Under the scheme, 10 bays in the five Kent stores will be dedicated to stocking local food. Fruit and vegetables will be key, though a full range of food products is set to be represented.
The scheme was launched this month and will run indefinitely. If it proves successful the supermarket will look to roll out the initiative nationwide.
Food sourced under the scheme would have significantly lower food miles and would arrive fresher in store, Asda said.
"We've pioneered the concept of using a local distributor to act as a central reference point that makes it easy for small producers to get their products into a major chain such as Asda," added Julia Tweedie, Asda's marketing manager of local sourcing and ethics. "The quality and commitment from suppliers in Kent is nothing short of phenomenal and we're delighted to be working with local fresh food businesses in the county."
To boost its local supplier numbers, Asda is holding an event in Canterbury next week to enable potential suppliers to talk to existing members.
Bank Farm has operated as Asda's local hub in Kent since 2006, supplying the retailer's 11 stores in the county. "It's win-win for everyone," said Bank Farm owner Douglas Wanstall. "Small producers get the chance to invest in their businesses knowing they've got a guaranteed outlet; consumers can buy with confidence because they will know the provenance of these products; and, best of all, it's part of a local sourcing benchmark for other counties and regions to aspire to."