Waitrose is diversifying its potato and root veg supply base in a bid to enhance category expertise and fuel future growth.

In a move that could herald a shakeup in its entire supply base, Waitrose awarded Branston joint supplier status for potatoes, to end over 10 years of dominance by rival Produce World, it has emerged. Supply will kick off next summer.

Produce World currently supplies all of Waitrose’s potatoes, with the exception of Jersey Royals, through its Solanum joint venture.

But Waitrose believed an additional supplier would help support its growth plans, a spokesman said. “An additional supplier will add further expertise to the category - two heads are better than one!”

The same thinking has been applied in root veg. Huntapac will start supplying Waitrose with a “small percentage” of root veg lines including carrots and parsnips from next year, the spokesman said. “As with potatoes, we decided that another packer would enhance what we are currently doing.”

Waitrose has exclusively used Isleham Fresh Produce - also part of Produce World - to supply its root veg requirements.

Produce World said it was “delighted to be continuing to supply Waitrose”. It’s understood it remains the majority supplier.

But Branston will now help supply big volume lines such as Waitrose Essential, white potatoes, baking potatoes, Maris Piper and King Edwards from next summer, when the potato season starts.

Waitrose traditionally works with sole suppliers on high volume fresh food lines. For example, Aquascot, Dairy Crest, Dalehead and Dovecote Park are its sole suppliers on salmon, conventional milk, fresh pork and bacon, and fresh beef, respectively.