SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) will help small food producers supply local retailers directly by signing them up to a central registration log. Local producers will be audited to make sure they have robust food safety procedures.
Previously, wholesale and retail buyers have had to check that suppliers met their requirements on a case-by-case basis.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that by reducing the costs associated with food safety checks, SALSA would allow retailers to source more food directly from small suppliers.
A BRC spokesman said: "Traceability is very important and retailers will now benefit by getting reassurance about local products."
The scheme has been set up by the National Farmers' Union, Food and Drink Federation and the British Hospitality Association, and is backed by the Food Standards Agency.