Asda deal raises the tempo

First came the egg, then the chicken ready meal, and now Bank Farm in Kent is supplying Asda stores in the county with a range of local produce from neighbouring farmers.

Doug and Steph Wanstall, who own the farm, have for several years been supplying farm shops and restaurants in the south east with their own eggs and ready meals, as well as neighbours’ bread, jam, water, wine, biscuits and soon, sausages.

But the tie-up with Asda has raised the tempo of the business, as well as working the Wanstalls’ capital harder.

Stock for the Asda deliveries keeps their warehouse fuller and their vans busier.

“We deliver three times a week into two local stores, but if we’re successful we expect that number to increase by Christmas,” said Mr Wanstall.

There is a two-day lead time on deliveries, which means that he has to predict demand in advance.

“We’ve talked to Asda’s other local hubs and they helped us with what sells most quickly and what goes more slowly.”

The supply deal has widened Bank Farm’s own supply base with the addition of a baker and a sausage maker, and it now stands at around 70 producers.

“Later in the year we’ll start supplying local milk, branded as Kentish.”

A spokeswoman for the supermarket said the top request from in-store focus groups was for more local food, and it was the third most popular demand from customers.

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