Ocado looking to make deals in Norfolk to supply customers with niche products

PUBLISHED: 12:40 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 27 September 2018

Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Local Flavours 2018 event for local food and drink producers at the Norfolk Showground Arena. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Some of the biggest names in Britain’s food and drink industry are looking to Norfolk to plug a gap on their shelves, as customers are increasingly looking to buy from smaller brands closer to home.

Buyers from Ocado, Fortnum and Mason, and Morrisons all held meetings with independent suppliers at the Local Flavours festival, held at the Norfolk Showground yesterday.

Ocado’s regional buyer Natasha Metcalf came to the trade fair for the first time this year, and said: “There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that Ocado is putting a big focus on improving our customer offering in local products, as we’re increasingly seeing shoppers wanting to buy from smaller and more niche brands.

“There’s also the element of people wanting to buy local products they know, as well as more interest in things like air miles and where the food comes from.”

Ocado currently offers 70% of UK post codes a delivery service, and any deals made with Norfolk suppliers following the event would see the products stocked online.

Ms Metcalfe continued: “There’s no particular brief for me to walk away with, but I have seen a few companies I’d like to work with looking forward.”

She added that Norfolk is creating some products which are on trend for the food industry: “I did come with a brief towards looking at free from products, and there’s a growing trend around vegan products, and I’ve seen a couple here.

“The next big trend we think we’re going to see is a focus on gut health, whether that’s pre or pro biotics.”

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