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Celebrating independent British producers: SPAR UK thanks local growers

August 25, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Community, Environment, Sourcing

SPAR UK partner James Hall & Co. is thanking its network of independent North West UK producers for going above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wilf Whittle, Fresh Trading Manager at James Hall & Co., said, “Before the pandemic, we had refreshed our fruit and vegetable offering to champion North West growers. This relationship has proved invaluable during the pandemic.”

“COVID-19 presented us with a perfect storm: panic buying, yo-yo sales, and supply chain disruptions. British farmers have faced many challenges in finding enough skilled pickers at harvest time and adapting to social distancing.”

Farm to fork
“We work with farms in Southport, Formby, Tarleton, Hesketh Bank, and Mere Brow. Many of these are multiple-generation farms and have decades of farming expertise. These farms provide a stream of fantastic local produce, delivered straight from farm to fork, including Lancashire new potatoes, gem lettuce, leeks and chillies, broccoli and courgettes, swede and cabbage.” Wilf added.

“We couldn’t be more grateful for the support these family farms have shown us, in ensuring independent SPAR retailers could continue to offer fresh and nutritional products to communities across the north of England.”

JNH Hornby is a fourth-generation, brassica farm in Hesketh Bank. Growing the very finest broccoli and cauliflower since the 1930s, the team are proud advocates of British farming.

“Farmers have to endure lots of difficult periods throughout the growing season. The buyers at SPAR appreciate this and understand the challenges we face”, Kate Hornby said. “By buying British, you are buying local produce that is super fresh and often in the shop the day after harvesting: our products are grown by local people with a real passion for putting quality British produce on your plate.”

Gore Hall farm in West Lancashire has been farmed by seven generations of the Cropper family. They supply high-quality fresh salads, including Iceberg lettuce, celery, and Romaine lettuce. With 500 acres of outdoor land and some 10 acres of computer-controlled glasshouses, Gore Hall provides delicious, fresh crops throughout the growing season.

Richard Cropper said, “Working with local suppliers is better for the environment, helps to support independent, family businesses, and boosts our local economy. Our partnership with James Hall & Co. allows our products to be distributed quickly and efficiently across the north of England, ensuring freshness and reducing waste.”

Wilf Whittle said, “Working with farms local to our SPAR Distribution Centre in Preston, enables more flexibility in meeting demand surges, ensures that products are at their freshest when delivered into the store, and provides full traceability and a reduction in transport carbon emissions.”

Best of local
SPAR continues to promote the best of local – a sourcing approach that is better for the environment, helps to support independent, family businesses, and boosts local economies. Particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, existing and strengthened SPAR local sourcing initiatives have helped address the difficulties faced by local agri-food sectors. These challenges include restrictions on the movement of foodstuff, interrupted sales channels, and shifts in production systems.

For more on local sourcing initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, see our Contact International feature.

Source: SPAR UK

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About SPAR UK

The UK became a member of SPAR in 1956 when a group of independent wholesalers was granted the SPAR licence by SPAR International. There are five regional partners in the UK with strategically placed Distribution Centres in each region. A central office, located in London, provides national marketing and buying services for the group and supports the development of the brand

SPAR has led the convenience market in the UK for many years but has faced increasing competition. Always innovative, the five regional partners have continued to grow the brand. Throughout the UK, a combination of independently-owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores can be found, spanning forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhoods.