Supermarket Morrisons said today that it is looking to take on more than 200 new suppliers within a year on the back of increasing consumer demand for locally sourced products.
Buyers from the retailer, which says it is British farming’s biggest single customer and the UK’s largest fresh food-maker, are to tour Britain in search of top producers as it aims to boost the local food it sells and cut food miles.
We want small UK food suppliers to become bigger onesAndy Higginson
The target is “more customers being able to buy more food in a British supermarket that was grown, made, picked or packaged within 30 to 60 miles of their local store”, Morrisons said.
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It comes as research, commissioned by the supermarket chain, found that 52 per cent of food eaten in the UK comes from our farmers, while we import more than twice as much food as we export, at £39 billion and £18bn respectively, plus the range of crops grown in the UK has fallen.
However, the study also found that about two-thirds of UK shoppers say they prefer to buy food produced domestically.
Andy Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Our customers tell us they want to see more food that is made just down the road from their own communities and that’s why we are looking for the next generation of British and local food-makers to serve our 12 million customers.
“We want small UK food suppliers to become bigger ones – the Innocent Smoothies of tomorrow – and we also want to give our customers the option of more food that meets their local food tastes.”
Morrisons was found in research published yesterday by Which? on supermarket customer satisfaction to have climbed from eighth place last year to number five.