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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 06:21 GMT
Supermarket helps local suppliers
Black puddings
The Bury Black Pudding company has taken advantage of the system
A supermarket chain is encouraging local producers in the North West to have their goods stocked on its shelves.

Asda has developed a system to make it easier for small companies to get their products noticed.

The company now wants to extend this into developing a new Best of the North West range.

The firm's local sourcing team will be at the North West Food Showcase at the Manchester Velodrome on Tuesday to meet local suppliers, small growers and producers.

One of the firms which has taken advantage of the system is the Bury Black Pudding Company.

It makes traditional horseshoe-shaped black puddings, which are now stocked in two Asda stores in Bury, one in Accrington and one in Preston.

They have proved so popular, Asda want to stock the puddings in 71 stores.

This isn't just window-dressing, there is a sound business reason why retailers should take local products more seriously.
Karen Todd, Asda

Debbie Pearce set the firm up last May and believes Asda's system is good news for small companies.

"It gives independent, small producers an entry into supermarkets which would not be available otherwise," she told BBC News Online.

"It is good business for us, and is good for Asda as well because it means they are stocking products that local people want.

"Supermarkets are often seen as unapproachable and difficult to deal with but local sourcing has brought it down to our level."

Asda says its system cuts through a lot of the red tape associated with product sourcing.

All they require is that the company shows a demand for its product locally and production meets minimum technical and food safety standards.

'160m business opportunity'

Some local products have even overtaken the big brand names.

For example, a local ice-cream sold in Asda's Kendal store in Cumbria outsells a popular brand five to one.

Karen Todd, Asda's local sourcing manager, said: "This isn't just window-dressing, there is a sound business reason why retailers should take local products more seriously.

"Local products have been the number one request from customers over the last year and we are sure that suppliers in the North-West will have great products that could potentially go straight to the top of our customers' shopping lists."

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