Supported by a £40,000 grant from the Scottish government, Asda’s Scottish Supplier Development Academy (SDA) is a six-month training and development programme for the Scottish food and drink sector.
It will feature 30 suppliers including Graham’s The Family Dairy, Malcolm Allan, Stoats, Thistly Cross Cider, McKechnie Jess and Scotty Brand when it starts next month.
SDA is open to applications from all current or potential Asda suppliers in Scotland.
It is the third time Asda has launched an academy focussing on skills, capability building and collaboration with suppliers, Scotland Food & Drink ceo James Withers claimed.
“Participants in the last programme saw over £12M in sales increases as a result of their involvement. Companies taking part vary in size and represent a broad range of the food and drink sector in Scotland,” he said.
“The academy demonstrates the commitment that we all share to grow the retail sales of Scottish food and drink businesses, offering strengthening choice for consumers.”
Previous rounds of the programme saw participants increase their sales by up to 330%.
The cabinet secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, who launched the initiative, said it was a tried and tested way to boost local food and drink products availability in Scotland.
“I am pleased to see such a wide range of companies already signed up and hope this leads them onto great success and more Scottish products on sale in Asda,” he added.
Asda’s Michael McCallion
“Asda’s Supplier Development Academy presents a unique opportunity for new and experienced suppliers to strengthen their understanding of modern-day retail, along with refining their commercial and marketing practices and skills.”
Graham’s The Family Dairy’s md Robert Graham said the academy would help it explore new ways to grow its market share in Scotland and beyond.
“It provides a unique insight into supermarket trading disciplines and allows us to develop relationships with head office, which in turn helps us expand south of the border,” he said.
“Asda has a strong local sourcing team with which we engage regularly, and which shares a common aim of growing a stronger Scottish food and drink industry.”
Asda’s senior buying manager Michael McCallion said: “Where Asda can take a local product and find it a national or even international market then the benefits are multiple: sales increase, customers get better choice and quality, and suppliers get the confidence and scale to make the move from small to medium to large businesses.
“Invariably that means more local jobs and more investment with local primary producers.”