Sainsbury’s has asked its suppliers to bring forward ideas for new products and innovations as it tries to differentiate itself in the marketplace.
Speaking at the retailer’s annual Farming Conference, Produce technologist Lily Peck said her remit is to “look for something different.”
She added, “Any great ideas you have, talk to your technical manager about it and help us differentiate our range.” She cited the launch of bunched radishes (supplied by G’s grower Scott Watson) and sweet-stemmed cauliflower as particular successes.
However, the retailer also confirmed that a major overhaul of suppliers is continuing as the company aims to have ‘fewer and longer-term relationships,’ shifting towards direct grower sourcing.
Sainsbury’s director of brand Judith Batchelar said, “While our competitors will have been buying their own packaging facilities and performing that part in the value chain themselves, the way we’ve looked at it is much more direct relationships with growers.”
Product Manager Sarah Blandford described a three-year project with potato supplier Greenvale to improve production efficiencies: “We had four times as many potato growers as we needed for our 52-week supply requirements. We had some fantastic growers and we had some good growers.” She added that Sainsbury’s looks for suppliers who are proactively monitoring things like yield potential.
Photo Caption: Sainsbury’s Product Manager Sarah Blandford
Photo Credit: Richard Crowhurst