Asda has clocked up £1bn of sales since it began working with local and ethnic suppliers, and it is gunning to reach a £500m annual sales target by 2013.

The grocer has pledged to source even more regional meat, produce and specialty local produce.

Local suppliers now work with Asda through a network of nine regional hubs. Asda allows local producers to use its large scale buying ability to secure cheaper suppliers such as packaging.

CJ Antal-Smith, category director on emerging markets, said: “We’re really proud that we’ve built our local business from a standing start to a £1 billion success story.  And we’re not stopping there; looking ahead our plans are more than ambitious.

“We’re working with the some of the smallest UK suppliers to give them the opportunity to grow their business, and at the same time increase the amount of local and ethnic products available to our customers - proving that big stores can do local in a big way.”