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Want to join us?

As a regional retailer we have a vested interest in the local food producing community and our Local Flavours range enables us to keep in touch at close quarters. We work closely with our local producers and suppliers to help them develop their business in a sustainable way.

What is ‘Local’?

Our definition of ‘local’ is to source ‘in-county’. If we are unable to do this we will look to neighbouring counties.

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This may mean that Hampshire could possibly carry lines from Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex and the Isle of Wight if deemed appropriate. Many factors come to bear when considering ranging a product in our stores.
• The cost price has to be right to enable an acceptable retail to be set.
• The packaging has to be retail ready packaging, barcodes and all legally required ingredient instructions.
• The supplier has to be able to deliver to our required timetables etc.

Who we work with?

We work with producers and help to introduce them to markets and a customer base they may not reach without selling through an established retailer such as TSC.

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Our work keeps us up close and personal with our producers and enables us to see the challenges they face first hand and in turn offer our expertise in finding solutions.

Some of our producers are ranged in 30 stores, some supply just one. Some of our producers employ 25 people, some work alone. Some of our producers are regionally recognised, some are only known in their home town. This is the beauty of sourcing locally, we are easily able to adapt to suit both producers needs and our customers’ demands.

Building good working relationships is vital to our business. We have to remain close to our local suppliers to ensure we are able to have frank, open and honest discussions with them. This enables us to secure future supply and offer products we know our customers will enjoy and that are viable for our business.

Local producers usually use local support; ingredients, marketing, staff, logistics etc. Every £1 spent on local food engages an array of local support functions which continues to support the local community.

What we look for in a supplier?

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Local

Passion

Provenance

Quality

Robust

Viable

Packaging must be retail ready. Barcodes are essential; we cannot consider any products without one, they must be 28mm x 8mm minimum size. Clear labelling must be in line with Local Authority guidelines. This should contain:

• ingredients list
• place of manufacture
• storage conditions
• weight
• use by date
• best before date
• nutritional information
Full traceability must also be evidenced.*
*All suppliers will be audited upon commencement of supply. The initial audit will be carried out irrespective of any existing memberships or accreditations. Thereafter, sight of supporting certification is all that is required.

For further information or to introduce yourself, please email localsourcing@southerncoops.co.uk.

Things you should have considered during your product development

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• Have you got recipes / a product you can develop?
• Is your product popular and saleable?
• Have you researched the market?
• Who are your customers?
• Where do your customers live and where might they buy your product?
• Can you really source quality / cost effective ingredients?
• Have you considered your logistics?
• Is your pricing realistic? You should consider every single cost when pricing your product – staff, utilities, packaging, insurance, transport, marketing etc. It is not simply the cost of the constituent ingredients that make up your product cost!
• Have you considered the style and design of the packaging you will need for primary (sales), secondary (outer) and tertiary (transport) requirements? What health & safety regulations do you need to adhere to? Is your packaging consumer friendly? How might your design minimise waste?

Communication

You must ensure you always stay in close contact to communicate:
• cost increases
• barcode changes
• new products
• issues

Substitute products cannot be accommodated. If you do not have a product available do not send in what you consider to be a viable alternative. Never send in products that have not been approved by the Local Sourcing team.

Quality Control & Safety

• Have you registered with the environmental health service?
• Do you need a trading licence?
• Have you completed a basic food hygiene course?
• Have you completed HACCP in food safety?
• Have you investigated the requirements for Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) or due diligence?
• Are you fully conversant and compliant with the Health and Safety requirements for your business?
• Do you have a product recall procedure?
• Do you have a food integrity and traceability process?
• Would you always be ready for an audit?
• Do you understand how to deal with complaints from the retailer or customer?

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