Five hundred local suppliers enter Morrisons search for nation’s best local food

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Greg Fraser of The Bottle Baking Co, displays his produce at the first NationÕs Local Foodmakers, which is a UK wide competition by Morrisons supermarkets to find the best in locally sourced produce, Keighley, West Yorkshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 15, 2017. Morrisons commissioned a British Food Report revealing that UK farmers supply just over half the food eaten in the UK with the supermarket themselves stocking two thirds of British produce on their shelves. The competition, which has attracted over 500 entrants already, has 12 regional heats with the final taking place in the East Midlands on 3rd July. Photo credit should read: Jon Super/PA Wire

From York to Fork: Small producers and family food making businesses line up for first local foodmaker event in Yorkshire

Over 500 small foodmakers have signed up to the Morrisons search for local and British food in the first two weeks.

A number of these would-be suppliers showcased their products to Morrisons’ buyers, customers and store colleagues as well as the local Womens Institute at the first selection event in Yorkshire yesterday.

The range included local products, many from small or family businesses, such as cheeses, milk, and pork as well as innovative products like natural fruit vinegars, craft gins and gluten-free pies and pasties.

Morrisons are hosting ten more regional events in their bid to unearth a new crop of local growers, producers, farmers and food makers this summer. There is still time for local producers to register for eight of these starting with the South West event taking place in South Brent Devon in the week of 24th April.  The next event takes place in Grimsargh Village Hall in Lancashire week commencing 3rd April.

Since announcing the search, Morrisons has been inundated by entries from food brands that have responded to the retailers call for more British food makers in a bid to further boost British supply on shelves across the 491 Morrisons stores.

The nationwide search was started as a UK food report revealed that the UK exports £18bn of food, compared to £39bn of imports. It highlighted a growing appetite for local produce from British shoppers and demonstrated the potential benefits to Britain’s countryside of putting more British produce on supermarket shelves.

The programme, named ‘The Nation’s Local Food Makers’, began on Tuesday 14th March in Yorkshire with the aim of adding over 200 local suppliers in 2017 alone.

Morrisons which started life as a bustling egg, milk and butter market stall in Bradford back in 1899 is hosting 12 regional events across the UK with the first event taking place in Keighley, Yorkshire on Tuesday 14th March.

Richard Jones, Food Quality Expert at Morrisons, said: “It’s been a promising start to our nationwide search. We’ve been impressed by the quality and innovation of the foodmakers who have applied.

“We hope to give many of these foodmakers an opportunityto grow their businesses and and give our customers the opportunity to buy even more food made in their communitie

At the event on Tuesday, Morrisons worked with members of the West Yorkshire Women’s Institute, drawing on their local knowledge and expertise to source and select the best suppliers in the count.

Maureen Hancox, Chairman of the West Yorkshire WI Federation said: “We’re looking for those products that use fresh, local ingredients with sensible packaging and, of course, food that tastes amazing.”

Morrisons has already sourced 178 local products since September 2015 alone and this summer’s search for the nation’s local food makers will boost this figure considerably.