Todmorden company's success thanks to Co-op’s local source trial

Co-op
Co-op

Following a successful trial in Yorkshire, ​the Co-op is to roll out a ​nationwide scheme to stock local products in its stores.

​The Yorkshire trial ​involved more than 50 local manufacturers ​who provided Co-op food stores with locally produced ​goods such as eggs, baked goods, ice cream, sweets, chutneys, pies, sausages and beer.

​The Co-op said the trial was a huge success​ and the scheme now offers more than 150 local lines across Yorkshire​. The Co-op ​is also ​working​ with more than 30 ​Yorkshire ​farmers ​who produce pork, beef, eggs and d​ai​ry in the ​c​ounty.

The firm said its members ​are​ keen to encourage​ innovation with local products​ and following the trial in Yorkshire, the programme is now being rolled out to every​ ​county in the UK.

​The Co-op said ​local sour​c​ing of produce is a cornerstone of ​its food strategy ​and it is committed to “celebrating, supporting and championing locally loved produce”​.​​

Over 20 Yorkshire breweries now supply the Co-op ​and​ it is estimated that Yorkshire breweries will tap into annual sales of more than 500,000 pints ​this year.

Simon Dryell, ​h​ead of ​l​ocal ​sourcing for the Co-op, said: “Local produce is made with a mix of pride, innovation, history and passion to deliver consistently great quality and taste​.

“The Co-op is committed to celebrating and supporting local producers​. I​t is an area where we see continued sustainable growth as consumers increasingly seek provenance and trust locally​.”

He said that one size doesn’t fit all for smaller producers, so ​the firm is keen to break down the barriers.

“W​e want these businesses to thrive in our communities and so we don’t seek exclusivity for instance – our ambition is for our stores to be at the heart of local life, connecting communities together and offering great quality products,” he added.​

One of the most popular Yorkshire suppliers is ​Todmorden-based Porcus​, which supplies the Co-op with ​​homemade pork products and sausages​.​

Porcus director​ Sarah Jane Clegg​ said: “When our area was hit by severe flooding in December 2015 we were really up against it.

​“​We spoke to the Co-op and explained the dire circumstances we were in. They listened, and in order to help, they rolled out our products into a number of their other stores in the area, which was fantastic.

​“​It felt easy to approach them​ –​ it felt natural. This relationship is continuing to blossom and we’ve already increased the range we supply which is great.”​