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Asda’s Local Focus Generates Business Growth for Scottish Food & Drink Companies

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing marks Scottish suppliers’ success ahead of St Andrew’s Day.

November 28, 2019 04:00pm
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Asda Scottish Supplier Academy

Sales of locally produced food and drink in Asda’s Scottish stores has grown by 5% year on year – proving that shoppers are actively supporting Scotland’s agri-food industry.

This growth is an outcome of Asda’s Supplier Development Academy, which is delivered in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink and funded by the Scottish Government.

In a very competitive market, sales of locally produced food in Scottish stores significantly outperformed sales across the rest of the business.

Twenty-two Scottish suppliers took part in this year’s Academy, a bespoke training programme which has helped local companies secure listings with Asda and significantly boost their trading potential.

  • Award-winning Edinburgh-based bakery, Nairn’s, has launched its 40% less sugar Oat Bars in 32 Scottish stores
  • Strathmore Foods launched the popular Kidz Healthy Ready Meals in 54 Asda stores
  • Mrs Tilly’s Confectionery from Falkirk launched the world’s first Scottish tablet flavoured popcorn with Asda in 2019
  • Lanarkshire’s Bells Food Group is now supplying three new lines of Scottish pies as part of Asda ‘Pie Shop’ trial
  • In 2019 Scottish suppliers have reduced their plastic packaging in line with Asda’s ‘Plastic Unwrapped’ Pledge, including Border Biscuits who have committed to a 90% reduction of plastic from their packaging, Strathmore Foods who have introduced their ready meals all in fully recyclable trays and Stoats whose cereal bars are now in plastic free packaging.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing visited Asda’s flagship Edinburgh Jewel store today to celebrate the completion of the Academy, and was joined by James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, said: “The commercial success of locally produced food in Asda’s Scottish stores demonstrates how important it is to support Scotland’s food and drink businesses to reach their full potential.

“Asda’s Supplier Development Academy opens doors by providing businesses with the information and advice they need to successfully supply supermarkets on a large scale. This sort of support is welcome and will help to secure and generate jobs in communities across the country. In this hugely competitive market, it is heartening to see the Scottish food and drink industry excel and customers opting to shop local and buy Scottish when given the chance to do so.”

Lucy Husband, UK Market Development Manager of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Asda Supplier Development Academy is exactly the kind of initiative that is driving growth in our industry, now worth a record £15bn. The UK opportunity for Scottish food and drink businesses is huge and central to that strategy is supporting businesses to extend their potential and grasp new opportunities. Our long established relationship with Asda, with support from the Scottish Government, is crucial to that.

“Over the last eight months the 22 participating suppliers have all developed their capabilities and deepened relationships with both the Asda local sourcing team and their UK wide colleagues to mutual benefit. The tangible successes with listings going national and new own label contracts is superb to see and is testament to Asda’s commitment to showcasing and increasing sales of Scottish food and drink while providing a stronger offering to consumers. Many of the suppliers came through one of our Meet the Buyer events and as we celebrate another successful year of the Supplier Development Academy we are once again supporting Asda as they begin their search for the next generation of Scottish suppliers.”

Michael McCallion, Head of Scottish Sourcing at Asda, said: “Asda’s Scottish suppliers who took part in the Academy have seen great progress over the last year, including launching new product ranges, expanding their sales into Asda stores south of the border and joining Asda’s own label team supplying own brand products across the UK.

“Where Asda can take a local product and find it a national market 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. Often that means more local jobs and more investment with local primary producers. It also helps deliver more of what our customers tell us they want – high quality, great value Scottish products on Asda shelves.”

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