Spar claims a new agreement with a supply chain specialist will help improve its chilled ranges. It is hoped the deal will improve the efficiency of the distribution network and frequency of deliveries and mean chilled products spend less of their shelf-life sitting in depots and more time on shelves.

Suppliers that previously delivered to each of Spar’s six regional distribution centres across the UK can now deliver to the Oakland International depot in Redditch, from where Spar’s regional distributors can pick up the goods.

It is also thought the new process will be good for the environment because it will reduce wastage of food and cut lorry miles.

“This is a great opportunity for Spar to further improve its service to its members and retailers while having a significant impact on our carbon footprint,” said Steve Blackmore, Spar’s management information and supply chain director.

The scheme would initially start with eight suppliers before being rolled out across an increased supplier base, said Dean Attwell, managing director of Oakland International. “It will form the basis of a much improved service for Spar wholesalers,” he said.