Asda has ramped up its regional food offer with the opening of its first local sourcing hub in Scotland this week.

The move highlights the growing importance of Scotland to Asda, which has plans to open several stores in the country in the next year, going head to head with market leader Tesco.

The Scottish hub, Asda's eighth local sourcing initiative in the UK, will involve ten new suppliers in the Edinburgh region, and will bring 33 new local products to its stores.

A spokeswoman said: "One of the major requests from our customers is for Asda to offer more local food in stores and this is reflected nationally. Asda believes that there is a need to reconnect the food chain by linking small specialist regional producers with major retailers." Asda now stocked more than 3,000 local lines throughout the UK, she added.

Asda uses its hub set-ups as a point of contact between its buying team and the suppliers, handling all suppliers' paperwork, logistics and invoicing on their behalf.

The aim is to connect stores with their locale, reduce food miles, and to simplify the process for suppliers. The Scottish hub will be based at existing supplier, family butcher Malcolm Allen, in Falkirk.