Ocado Kerridge and Rose

Suppliers can pitch to a panel including Tom Kerridge and Sir Stuart Rose

Ocado is planning to run more meet-the-buyer events this year as it kicks off a Dragon’s Den-style competition to find a new supplier.

This week, the online grocer offered up the prize of a listing and a £10,000 marketing package for an up-and-coming supplier, not currently stocked by the supermarkets.

Entrants will be invited to deliver a business pitch to a judging panel that will include Ocado chairman and former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose and Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, as well as Ocado buyers.

Ocado said it also planned to run more meet-the-buyer events and workshops this year to find new suppliers and give advice and tips on what they need to do to impress.

“Ultimately we want to list new and interesting products from suppliers that would tend not to get supermarket space,” said Ocado marketing and grocery retail director Lawrence Hene. “We also want to show small suppliers how to put their best foot forward.”

He said the judges would be looking for products that are appealing and different and suppliers who show entrepreneurial flair and a willingness to take a risk.  

Suppliers who are interested in entering Ocado’s Next Top Supplier competition should email topsupplier@ocado.com.