The Co-op has signed up more than 50 local manufacturers and micro producers to provide its stores across Yorkshire with a wide range of locally produced items including eggs, bakery and ice cream. The Co-op is piloting its local sourcing initiative in Yorkshire but it is envisaged that within 12 months it will be rolled out to other parts of the country.
Kate Jones, head of local sourcing at the Co-op, said: “Our customers have told us they want to buy local products at their Co-op store and so we have responded by teaming up with more than 50 new Yorkshire suppliers.
“Products made in the vicinity of our stores are prized by people who want to support locally produced regional food which often helps to define a specific area such as Yorkshire.”
Ms Jones added that the initiative was designed to break down barriers which have in the past made it difficult for small companies to supply large national organisations.
Simon Williams, North Yorkshire chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of their communities. They provide jobs and bring economic life and prosperity to their local area.
“Keep Trade Local is a message the Federation of Small Businesses has been promoting for a long time. This investment by the Co-op in its small suppliers shows a true understanding and commitment to these values.
“We must do all we can to protect, support and encourage our local small businesses today and in the future.”
Charlotte Shaw, from Lottie Shaw’s bakery in Elland, said: “Lottie Shaw’s authentic Yorkshire bakery has, like the Co-operative, been in business for more than a hundred years and so we are delighted to join with them as a local food producer in this new campaign with our Treats to Go range.”
A selection of meat from family run catering butchers, Yorkshire Dales Meat Company, has gone on sale in 26 Co-operative food stores across Yorkshire.
James Knox, managing director at Yorkshire Dales Meat Company, said “Listings with the Co-operative Group is fantastic news for the business and for the profile of our ever-growing brand and product offering.”