8 January 2001
Somerfield to boost local produce

By FWi staff

THE Somerfield supermarket chain has unveiled plans to increase sales of regional food produced by local farmers near its stores.

The move is part of a plan to improve communications between farmers and supermarket buyers unveiled by Somerfield and the National Farmers Union.

A series of roadshows will give farmers the chance to meet buyers as part of Somerfields “regional promise” initiative, which promotes local produce.

Somerfield said the meetings could also encourage farmers to organise themselves into co-operatives and to improve their selling power.

Somerfield buying director Keith Jackson said the supermarket wanted to build on a 1999 pledge to buy more regional food.

“We want to talk directly to farmers about how they can help themselves and how they can work together with supermarkets to build new markets.”

Somerfield has marketed farmer-owned brands such as Cotswold Quality Lamb, Peak District Beef and Lamb and Northumbria Beef and Lamb.

“Appealing to local customers is key to survival,” he said.