A Diss food producer has urged suppliers in the area to join the East of England Co-op’s local scheme, after recent successes that have seen it rise from market stall to regional brand.
The Big Skies Food Company, which specialises in creating flavoured Brittles, is celebrating following its appearance at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show, as a featured producer of the Co-op’s Sourced Locally initiative, a programme aiming to help promote the products of local farmers and manufacturers in its stores.
Mark Ford, co-owner of Big Skies with Zoë Denham, praised the supermarket for helping to open up new opportunities over the past year, with the company’s main product, #BritishBrittle, now supplying outlets such as the Sandringham Estate, the National Trust, the Elveden Estate and Jarrold of Norwich.
“We really admire what the East of England Co-op holds as core values,” he said.
“Their Sourced Locally specialists have been hugely supportive and we couldn’t have asked for a better business relationship.
“Above all we care about the politics of food and the East of England is a supermarket we can do business with.”
The couple added they hoped to continue collaborating with the scheme, and were currently researching and developing a new product.
According to the Co-op, Sourced Locally has seen more than £34 million paid to local suppliers since launching in 2007, and now has 2,400 products in this range.
Laura Fellingham, spokesperson for the East of England Co-op, said: “Through Sourced Locally we celebrate local food in our stores every day, bringing locally produced food and drink direct from over 140 farmers and producers to the shelve of our stores, and ploughing those profits back into the local economy.
“We’ve saved food miles, cut down on waste, encouraged local suppliers to work together and created new outlets for local businesses.
“We believe every encouragement should be given to those who work so hard and with such passion and dedication to bring great tasting food and drink to our tables.”
Other producers in the Diss Express area currently a part of the Sourced Locally initiative include Stradbroke Bakery, Debenham cider brewery Aspal, Hoxne egg supplier Havensfield Eggs, Brundish sausage maker Lane Farm, tea producer Jarretts and winery Shawsgate Vineyard, both of Mendlesham.