The Co-operative Food today (1 September) became a champion of Yorkshire food when it launched a local supplier initiative which will see the community retailer stock 130 new products made across the county.
The Co-op has signed up more than 50 local manufacturers and micro producers to provide its stores across Yorkshire with a wide range of locally produced items including: eggs; bakery; ice cream; sweets; chutneys; pies; sausages and beer.
The Co-op has worked closely with the suppliers in order to understand and unlock the logistical issues which in the past have prevented local firms providing relatively small amounts of their quality products to stores in their vicinity.
The Co-op is piloting its local sourcing initiative in Yorkshire but it is envisaged that within 12 months it will be rolled out to other parts of the country.
Kate Jones, Head of Local Sourcing, said: “Our customers have told us they want to buy local products at their Co-op store and so we have responded by teaming up with more than 50 new Yorkshire suppliers.
“Products made in the vicinity of our stores are prized by customers who want to support locally produced regional food which often helps to define a specific area such as Yorkshire.
“Our unique local sourcing initiative has been designed to break down the barriers which have previously made it difficult for small companies to supply large national organisations.
“Our vision is to champion a better way of doing business for you and your communities and what better way for us to do this than to sell as many locally produced goods as possible.”
Charlotte Shaw, from Lottie Shaw’s bakery in Elland, said: “Lottie Shaw’s authentic Yorkshire bakery has, like the Co-operative, been in business for more than a hundred years and so we are delighted to join with them as a local food producer in this new campaign with our Treats to Go range.
“We firmly believe in artisan, traditional, wholesome products and look forward to working with the Co-op to showcase the very best of Yorkshire products.”
Sam Moss, Director of Leeds Brewery said: “Leeds Brewery is proud to be a Yorkshire producer and we are delighted to be teaming up with our local Co-op stores to get our beer on shelves across the region. Yorkshire is renowned for producing some of the best food and drink products in the country and we are thrilled to be part of this new local sourcing initiative.”
Simon Williams, North Yorkshire Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of their communities. They provide jobs and bring economic life and prosperity to their local area.
“’Keep Trade Local’ is a message the Federation of Small Businesses has been promoting for a long time. This investment by the Co-op in its small suppliers shows a true understanding and commitment to these values.
“In Yorkshire we have a wide variety of regional products. We must do all we can to protect, support and encourage our local small businesses today and in the future.”