Asda looks to local food to boost regional links

Supermarket group Asda aims to increase sales of locally-sourced products three-fold to£160 million as it extends its relationships with regional suppliers.

At present, the Wal-Mart-owned grocer sells just over£50 million worth of local goods but plans to treble that in the next two years.

Asda has so far launched three big regional ranges in Cornwall, Cumbria and Scotland. A Welsh range goes on sale in the principality in May.

The grocer will continue with regional launches but expects to carry some products from local suppliers in all 258 Asda stores by the end of this year.

A spokeswoman said: 'We are taking things on a store by store basis.

Small suppliers are sometimes worried about getting involved with a large supermarket, but we want to address those concerns. Some suppliers like the potential that their product can go national, but some just want to supply to a couple of stores in their area.'

Asda managers met 60 of their 100 local suppliers in Leeds last Tuesday.

Robert Clark, research director of Retail Knowledge Bank, said: 'It was surprising how quickly the major chains moved away from local sourcing over the last 20 years, but clearly it's a trend that's returning.'

Sainsbury's sourced from 400 local suppliers, generating sales of£65


Meanwhile, Tesco has almost doubled its local sourcing to 7,000 products in the past 15 months.

Supermarket groups have come under pressure to work more closely with smaller suppliers. The OFT is to review the supermarkets' supplier code.