Tesco has put local suppliers at the heart of its new community action plan in which it hopes to tackle head on the barrage of protests it has faced in the past year.

Local sourcing is a key plank in its  'Tesco in the community' ten-point plan, which also covers health education and the environment, from wind turbines powering stores to the design and roll-out of a new Express fascia to blend in better with local settings. Tesco will put regional counters in its stores to give local foods greater prominence, as well as improving on-pack labelling to highlight local origins.

"We will also invest in more promotional activity to celebrate and encourage people to buy British products when they are in season," said chief executive Sir Terry Leahy at the launch of the initiative during an event held by think-tank The Work Foundation.

In addition, it will roll out its Scottish local buying programme, in which it currently has 100 local suppliers providing 1,000 Scottish products, to all areas of the UK. Sir Terry added: "We want to sell more local and regional products - giving our customers more local lines than in any other store. We will make it easier for small suppliers to gain access to Tesco by hosting open days for them to come and meet our buyers."

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