Supermarket backs local producers

A SUFFOLK branch of supermarket chain Waitrose is the first in the country to trial a new format which extends the range of locally-produced food.

A total of 16 Suffolk suppliers, half of whom are new to the company, will be providing the Saxmundham store with 105 products, including 57 new additions to its range. The shop is also in talks with other local producers, including fruit and vegetable suppliers. The local produce will also be given prominence in the store, with producers’ logos appearing alongside information including the number of miles the food has travelled from the producer to the shop.

Established, new and prospective local suppliers were invited to the store yesterday to take part in a Celebration of Local Produce event and a chance to meet the Waitrose team behind the initiative. Also present was local food campaigner Lady Cranbrook.

Branch manager Paul Reeley said: “There’s a real passion for supporting local producers in the area, and it’s great to be able to add to our existing range of products.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the community since we opened, and this event shows how we are working to ensure that Waitrose is Saxmundham’s neighbourhood shop that is proud to champion local producers in the area.”

Waitrose managing director Mark Price added: “This is another example of how Waitrose is supporting British farmers, growers and producers while also playing a role right at the heart of the community. We want to see local food thrive in this country and this is definitely the kind of initiative that will help ensure that happens.”