The programme, The Nation’s Local Food Makers, attracted more than 500 applications. Morrisons hoped to add more than 200 local suppliers to its supply chain this year.
Morrisons held the first of 11 nationwide events this week (March 14) in Keighley, West Yorkshire. It allowed potential suppliers to present their products to the retailer’s buyers and customers and representatives of the West Yorkshire Women’s Institute.
Food quality expert at Morrisons Richard Jones said it had been a promising start to the nationwide search and he had been impressed by the quality and innovation of the foodmakers that had applied.
Opportunity to grow their businesses
“We hope to give many of these foodmakers an opportunity to grow their businesses and give our customers the opportunity to buy even more food made in their community.”
The range of produce presented to Morrisons included local products – many from small or family businesses – such as cheeses, milk and pork, as well as natural fruit vinegars, craft gins and gluten-free pies and pasties.
Chairman of the West Yorkshire Women’s Institute Federation Maureen Hancox said: “We’re looking for those products that use fresh, local ingredients with sensible packaging and, of course, food that tastes amazing.”
Still time to sign up
Producers still have time to sign up to eight of the remaining product showcases, with the first taking place in South Brent, Devon in the week of April 24. The next event takes place in Grimsargh village hall in Lancashire in the week commencing April 3.
Morrisons said the search for local producers was a response to research from the University of Leeds – commissioned by the retailer – which found 48% of food in the UK was imported, worth £39bn.
More information about Morrisons’ The Nation’s Local Food Makers programme is available here.
Morrisons chairman Andy Higginson, speaking at the launch of the programme, said: “Our customers tell us they want to see more food that is made just down the road from their own communities and that’s why we are looking for the next generation of British and local foodmakers to serve our 12M customers.”