So, the search is about going one step further and uncovering those hidden gems from the West Midlands that will offer Morrisons’ customers more food and drink that meets their local tastes as well as products that were grown or made ‘just down the road’ from their communities.
Satnam Leihal, Morrisons Regional Manager for the West Midlands says: “Our customers tell us they want to see even more food that is made in the region and that’s why we’re asking the best suppliers to get in touch.” As well as listing suppliers that customers in the West Midlands will love, Morrisons’ new programme could go even further and identify suppliers whose food and drink is already recognised and enjoyed by local customers but not yet recognised nationally.
Local business Staffordshire Cheese know first hand what an opportunity gaining a listing in Morrisons can be. In 2004, the business was producing approximately one batch of cheese per week. Last year, Morrisons came across Staffordshire Cheese and, having spotted their potential, helped the company to take their products to the wider market.
Staffordshire Cheese now produces up to 180 cheeses a week and is stocked in 75 Morrisons stores all over the country.
General Manager Tom Green said: “Morrisons has made our products available to more customers across the country. Customers now contact us off the back of seeing it on their supermarket shelves. Throughout the process the Morrisons team has been very supportive in helping us to grow.”
In their search for the next ‘Staffordshire Cheese’, Morrisons buyers will invite the best local suppliers to showcase their products at an event in the West Midlands in July. Successful suppliers will then have the opportunity to be listed in Morrisons stores.
Morrisons will also be working with members of the Women’s Institutes in their communities around the UK, using their local knowledge and expertise to source and select the best suppliers in their area.
The supermarket’s search is announced as a report is published today by leading expert on global food issues, Professor Tim Benton. The report says it makes sense for the UK to be more self-sufficient in food production and build up a stronger local food sector in the face of global uncertainties.
In the report Professor Benton, from the University of Leeds, calls on British retailers to boost local UK food making and production to support local food makers which will reduce food miles and support local businesses and countryside.
Morrisons is already the single largest customer of British farming and it also makes most of the fresh food that it sells.