The Co-operative Group has revealed a major rollout of its local sourcing programme following the success of a pilot scheme in Yorkshire.
Charlotte Bleasdale, ranging manager for the Co-op in Yorkshire, said the ambition UK-wide was to double the number of local suppliers “from potatoes to pickles, and pies to pints”.
Now more than 150 local Yorkshire lines are supplied to the retailer’s 250 stores in the county, including eggs, milk, bread, ice cream, sweets, crisps, potatoes, pickles and chutney, pies, sausages and beer from 23 Yorkshire breweries following a pilot in 2015.
The society has started rolling out its local-sourcing programme across the UK, including Lancashire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Avon and Somerset. Cumbria would follow at the end of this month, a spokesman said.
The Co-op’s approach sets out clear principles to foster closer relationships and support for local suppliers. It wants local businesses to thrive which was why, for instance, it did not seek exclusivity.
“It is the innovation, traditions, quality and passion of the producers which makes for prized local products, and we are delighted to give them pride of place in our stores,” said Bleasdale.
Food provenance mattered to its customers, as did quality, trust and value, she said.
Luke Raven, director of the Ilkley Brewing Co – which supplies its Mary Jane, Pale Ale and Rombald beers to the Co-op, said: “Co-op have long been champions of local producers, and it’s great to see Yorkshire beer given such exposure - our own beer sales have rocketed in Co-op stores this year, with over 50,000 bottles expected to be sold by the year end.”
This accounted for about 10% of the Co-op’s sales of Yorkshire beers, which Raven said was “an incredibly proud achievement for such a small brewery”.