Today is Yorkshire Day and we thought we’d mark the occasion by looking at how our ‘local sourcing’ programme has come on in the county since it started there in 2015.
We now have 23 breweries involved and supplying our local Co-op stores with their beers – an estimated 500,000 pints each year. Plus we have over 150 other local suppliers providing things like eggs, bread, ice-cream, pies, sweets and crisps on our shelves. Local products from local suppliers in local stores – great for our customers who know and love these brands and great for the suppliers who have a new outlet for their products.
We’ve always said that our ‘local sourcing’ programme was to help build a relationship between ourselves and small suppliers, and we’ve seen over the last year how this has gone beyond just a supplier agreement.
Sarah Jane-Clegg of Todmorden based Porcus, who supply us with their range of homemade pork products and sausage, 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.”
Ed Sunter from Leeds Brewery realises how we’ve helped them gain a bigger fan base: “We are often asked where our beers can be bought – the Co-op’s community orientated approach provides a great route to market, helping us to reach customers in areas where their local pub may not be selling our beers.”
And Luke Raven from the Ilkley Brewing Co has seen the effect on their sales too: “Our own beer sales have rocketed in Co-op stores this year, with over 50,000 bottles expected to be sold by the year end, accounting for approximately 10% of Co-op’s sales of Yorkshire beers is an incredibly proud achievement for such a small brewery as ourselves.”
Charlotte Bleasdale, our Ranging Manager for Yorkshire, summed it up: “We know that food provenance really matters to our customers. Quality, trust and value are key for consumers. Backing local produce is about much more than just ‘hanging out the bunting’ – Yorkshire food and drink is world-renowned and we’re committed to investing in its local communities, providing opportunities to showcase, support and celebrate great Yorkshire food and drink.”
Demonstrating this better way of doing business, 18 of our local suppliers also joined us on our Co-op stand at the Great Yorkshire Show recently to sample their products with thousands of visitors.
‘Local sourcing’ is now rolling-out UK-wide following the success of the Yorkshire pilot. We’ve already started in Lancashire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Avon and Somerset with Cumbria starting in 18 stores this week.