Morrisons is today launching a search for Yorkshire’s best food and drink producers and is inviting suppliers from across the region to pitch for a place on its shelves. The search means that Yorkshire customers will be able to buy more food from Morrisons grown or made in Yorkshire.

The supermarket already stocks lots of the foods Yorkshire is famous for. For example, all Morrisons’ rhubarb is grown by two Yorkshire suppliers within the Rhubarb triangle between Wakefield and Leeds. The retailer also sells local ales like Timothy Taylor Landlord Ale, Yorkshire ham on its delis and parkin made in Bradford.

So, today’s search is about going one step further and uncovering those hidden Yorkshire gems that will offer Morrisons’ customers more food and drink that meets their local tastes as well as products that were grown or made ‘just down the road’ from their communities.

Mark Collings, Morrisons Regional Manager for Yorkshire says: “Our customers tell us they want to see even more food that is made in God’s own county and that’s whay we’re asking the best suppliers to get in touch.”

As well as listing suppliers that Yorkshire customers will love, Morrisons’ new programme could go even further and identify suppliers whose food and drink is already recognised and enjoyed by local customers but not yet recognised nationally.

Yorkshire business owners Stuart and Kathryn Franklin know first hand what an opportunity gaining a listing in Morrisons can be. Their artisan peanut butter business, Proper Nutty, entered 51 Morrisons stores in 2015 after meeting Morrisons at a Yorkshire business event.

Stuart says: “Supplying Morrisons has been a game changer for our business. We’ve gone from sending out boxes to sending out truckloads.

“It will also help us to provide much needed manufacturing jobs right here in Yorkshire. If all goes to plan, by Autumn 2017 we’ll have the capacity to supply all Morrisons stores nationally.”

In their search for the next ‘Proper Nutty’, Morrisons buyers will invite the best local suppliers to showcase their products at an event in Keighley, West Yorkshire on 14th March.  Successful suppliers will then have the opportunity to be listed in Morrisons stores.

Morrisons will also be working with members of the Women’s Institutes in their communities

around the UK, using their local knowledge and expertise to source and select the best suppliers in their area.

The supermarket’s search is announced as a report is published today by leading expert on global food issues, Professor Tim Benton.  The report says it makes sense for the UK to be more self-sufficient in food production and build up stronger local food sector in the face of global uncertainties.

In the report Professor Benton, from the University of Leeds, calls on British retailers to boost local UK food making and production to support local food makers which will reduce food miles and support local businesses and countryside.

Morrisons is already the single largest customer of British farming and it also makes most of the fresh food that it sells. It makes sausages at Farmers Boy in Bradford, packs vegetables in Flaxby, near Harrogate and Cutler Heights in Bradford, and bakes bread at Rathbones in Wakefield.

How to get involved

For further information about the programme please visit .  The closing date for applications to the Keighley event is Friday 3rd March.