South west Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward has joined regional food marketing group Taste of the West as part of a bid to improve links with local suppliers.

The company is setting up a supply chain that will enable it to offer local food and drink producers access to six-day-a-week deliveries to Spar stores in the region from next month.

Appleby Westward trading director Nigel Taylor said joining Taste of the West as a wholesale member would help it access the products it required for the new service. "We recently carried out some research with our retailers that showed an overwhelming positive response from customers towards local products, and we will be continuing to develop this area of supply," he said.

Taste of the West chief executive John Sheaves said it was important to have the support of a wholesaler.

"One of the key areas for the development of local food is the completion of the supply chain via wholesalers and distributors," he said.

The move by Appleby Westward marks a wider trend of wholesalers becoming more closely involved in the supply of local products.

Last month another Spar wholesaler, AF Blakemore, unveiled a joint venture with Heart of England Fine Foods.