Morrisons has issued a call for new food producers to join its list of suppliers as research by the supermarket giant showed shoppers want to support local farmers.
The study also revealed consumers believe UK produce is ‘more trustworthy’, with over two-thirds stating a preference to buy British.
The call for applications came as a new report by Professor Tim Benton at the University of Leeds said just 52 per cent of food eaten in the UK comes from British farmers. The academic encouraged retailers to help build up a stronger local food sector in the face of global uncertainties such as climate change and trade wars.
Andy Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Our customers tell us they want to see more food which is made just down the road from their own communities, and that is why we are looking for the next generation of British and local foodmakers to serve our 12 million customers.
“We want small UK food suppliers to become bigger ones – the Innocent Smoothies of tomorrow – and we also want to give our customers the option of more food that meets their local food tastes.”
“Morrisons is already British farming’s biggest single customer and the publication of the report today from Professor Benton makes us more determined to produce more of our food and source more from local British suppliers.”
The supermarket wants to recruit more than 200 new suppliers from across England, Wales and Scotland over the next year.
Applications should be made through the www.morrisons.com/local website.
Selected applicants will be invited to an event in their region where they can showcase their food to customers, Morrisons staff and Women’s Institute members, as well as Morrisons buyers, who will decide which products to take on.
A series of 12 regional events will kick off in Yorkshire on March 14.