Asda scored a 41 per cent uplift in locally produced-food sales last month in England and Wales compared with the same period last year.

Locally produced-food sales jumped 29 per cent in the same period in Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to the grocer.

Asda has more than 6,500 local product lines in its stores and recently invested more than £80,000 researching customers’ views on local food.

Asda is also trialling the use of local ambassadors in the Northwest to offer advice to customers in stores and make sure the local products are displayed correctly.

Asda customer planning manager for emerging markets Caroline Burgess said the sales uplift means that local products are now as popular as more established areas of the business, such as fish.

Some of its local products already outsell the more established own-brand equivalent, including Ellis eggs in Wales and MI Dickinson’s Pies in the Northeast.

Separately, Asda has been given the green light to build what will be its largest store in Northern Ireland after nearly three years waiting for the planning decision. Asda will start to build its £25m 54,000 sq ft shop at outlet centre Junction One in Antrim at the beginning of 2010 with the aim of opening by the end of that year.