Six centres to support local lines
Tesco will open six regional buying offices to step up local sourcing and put hundreds more local lines on store shelves.

The venture is likely to help stem criticisms that supermarkets ignore small suppliers and ratchet up food miles by trucking food long distances from where it is produced.

Five of the offices will be in England and one in Wales. Tesco has regional buying outposts in Scotland and Northern Ireland already.

Buying and marketing managers are being recruited for each new office and should be in place by the start of next year.

Tesco commercial director Richard Brasher maintained that no supermarket has ever opened nationwide buying offices. He said: 'Our customers want to be able to buy more regional products. We also know that smaller suppliers have sometimes found it hard to approach the supermarkets in the past. We want to solve both these issues.'

He said that Tesco would do more to promote local lines in introducing regional counters in shops and improving promotional materials.

Tesco drafted in the National Farmers Union to support the enterprise. NFU head of food and farming Robin Tapper said: 'We welcome the increased local sourcing initiative by Tesco. Sourcing more local food helps to address the growing demand by consumers. It also supports local producers who wish to supply the larger retailers.'