Supermarket major Morrisons announced yesterday that it is to boost the local food and drink it sells by recruiting 200 new local producers, many of them “multi-generational” small family businesses and farmers.
Morrisons, Scotland’s third biggest food retailer, said the drive would see it increase its food offering “to meet local tastes” and give hundreds of small businesses a route to market for their products.
The retailer, which has 60 Scottish stores, said it would see its aisles stocked with foods “travelling as little as two miles”, alongside latest research showing 68 per cent of Britons prefer to buy British food.
More widely, the group said products will be delivered to stores “with a fraction of the food miles” that groceries normally travel.Morrisons said from next month it will host a series of events from Devon to Aberdeenshire where local foodmakers will pitch for their place in their local Morrisons store.
Rebecca Singleton, the supermarket giant’s local solutions director, said: “Customers are telling us they want to buy British and buy food that is made near their communities.
“They believe it will be fresher and that they will be supporting their local farmers and businesses. These 200 foodmakers will give many customers a local choice of food or drink and our plan is to find more this year.” One example is Born in the Borders brewery which is stocking in 20 Morrisons’ stores across Scotland.
Other products include Artisan Welsh ice cream that goes from the milking parlour to frozen in the tub within 24 hours, and Yorkshire Parkin made to a 100-year-old family recipe.
Voakes Free-From Pies are made by the wife of a famous Yorkshire pie-maker who couldn’t eat the family produce because she herself is intolerant to gluten.
A recent YouGov survey for Morrisons found that the number of customers who prefer to buy British food products has edged up to 68 per cent over the last 12 months (+1 per cent), with 48 per cent of these believing British food to be fresher.
Yesterday’s announcement comes as Morrisons is expected to post a 2.7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales when it reports annual results tomorrow.
It is expected to result in the company announcing a 10 per cent lift in underling profits to £371 million, in a further sign that chief executive David Potts’ turnaround is bearing fruit.