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Bringing local produce to Tesco is big business

1 commentBy Gary Scattergood , 04-Oct-2012
Last updated on 04-Oct-2012 at 11:35 GMT

A Yorkshire firm that supplies local food and drink made by small manufacturers to the major supermarkets is expanding to cover the whole of northern England.

The Locally Sourced Food Company was established in 2007 and had a turnover of £25,000. Five years on, turnover is expected to hit £3M and the business is working with 60 Yorkshire producers and manufacturers, placing more than 300 lines in Asda and Tesco.

Sales and marketing director Amanda Peberdy a former buyer for Asda said the firm acted as a "consolidator and distributor".

"We've found there were lots of great producers and manufacturers in Yorkshire, but they didn't know how to get into the supermarkets," she said. "They would sell their products in farm shops or garden centres, but be intimidated by the thought of working with the chains.

Orders from supermarkets

"We buy their products from them, hold them, take the orders from the supermarkets and deliver them. We're now aiming to do this across the north of England."

Peberdy said the business was able to meet consumer and supermarket demands for local produce, which would otherwise be unfulfilled.

"Supermarkets want more local produce, but they haven't always got the resources to go out and find it, get it in the flexible quantities they need, or have the space to store it. With us, the supermarkets can take one pallet of a product to sell in just one store, or buy as much as they need for 300 plus stores," she said.

In addition to being able to work with manufacturers to expand their output, the company based at the site of egg producer Yorkshire Farmhouse in Thirsk has also had success in working with businesses to develop retail products from the restaurant sector.

Retail-ready products for Tesco and Asda.

It has recently worked with the Aagrah Restaurant Group, based in Shipley, to turn some of its curry sauces and pickles into retail-ready products for Tesco and Asda.

"The demand for locally sourced food is not going to go away," Peberdy added. "We're expanding to cover the whole of northern England and we are already working with Tesco in the north east. Longer term, three to five years down the line, there's no reason why we can't expand further."

For now, Peberdy and her team of four will continue to scour farmers' markets and delicatessens for products that could make the leap to the supermarkets.

"We never stop looking," she said. "But producers often approach us too and there are always new products coming to the market."

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1 comment (Comments are now closed)

Way forward for local food

It really is fantastic that this company has filled the gap between small-scale, locally produced food and nationally distribution channels.

Small food manufacturers that have their own websites - often with e-commerce built in - and provide an alternative model where the product is shipped directly to the consumer. But the delivery costs can be high.

This is the model that is supported by consolidator sites like Kimwetu where you can search for food and non-food items. However, I hope that the business model by the Locally Sourced Food Company (LSFC) can complement this. Very small businesses are unlikely to have the necessary resources to fit into the LSFC model.

The fact that Tesco and Asda are also embracing local food is a huge step forward.

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Posted by Dominic James
26 October 2012 | 12h59

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