Food and drink firms pitch for Morrisons deal

Lorraine Holmes of the Honey Comb stall.
Lorraine Holmes of the Honey Comb stall.
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More than 20 of the region’s best food and drink makers were handed the chance of a lifetime when they had the opportunity to pitch to buyers from Morrisons.

Last month the Bradford-based grocer announced the search for more local suppliers after research found that Yorkshire customers want to see more food and drink made and produced ‘just down the road’ from their communities.

A total of 75 Yorkshire producers applied to take part in the programme within the first two weeks of the announcement, with the best producers then invited to Victoria Hall in Keighley, West Yorkshire, where they pitched to buyers, customers and local store colleagues as well as the West Yorkshire Women’s Institute.

The local businesses are aiming to gain a listing alongside Yorkshire products already stocked in Morrisons such as, Wakefield Rhubarb, Bradford parkin and Yorkshire ham.

Richard Jones, Morrisons food quality expert and development chef, said: “Morrisons is a Yorkshire business.

“We employ 20,000 people in Yorkshire and, after seeing the quality of food in Keighley, we are really keen to put even more Yorkshire food on our customers’ plates.”

Local foodmakers who attended the event included Honey Comb, Parrs Foods, SloeMotion and Bottled Baking Co.

The West Yorkshire Women’s Institute were at the event, using their local knowledge and expertise to help Morrisons select the best food and drink makers.

aureen Hancox, Chairman of the West Yorkshire WI Federation said: “We’re looking for those products that use fresh, local ingredients with sensible packaging and, of course, food that tastes amazing. We saw some promising products in Keighley and are looking forward to seeing some of them in Morrisons stores soon.”

The suppliers who Morrisons think have what it takes will now be invited to a final round at the supermarket’s head office in Bradford. Morrisons earlier this month said its supply chain of its own fresh food allowed it “to be on the front foot” for the coming months after it reported 50 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £325​m.