FRUIT AND VEG DELIVERED DIRECT BY FARMERS TO ASDA STORES
In a bid to cut food miles even further, ASDA announced today (Monday 14th August) a group of farmers will start delivering their produce direct to its stores, rather than sending it via one of its distribution centres hundreds of miles away.
The trial in Cornwall is set to save 6,000 road miles a month but has the potential, if rolled out across the UK, to save a further three million road miles a year.
The latest pilot scheme follows a series of measures introduced by the supermarket to cut its carbon emissions, including switching to bio-diesel and moving more freight by train. ASDA has committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 80,000 tonnes a year by 20071.
Initially three farms will take part in the two month pilot scheme, supplying their local ASDA stores with strawberries, potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks and curly kale. All of the produce will be clearly labelled 'Produce of Cornwall'.
Each of the participating farmers will deliver their produce into one farm near Hayle in Cornwall, where the owner, local strawberry grower Neil Hosking, will then pack and transport it onto ASDA stores in Falmouth, St Austell, Bodmin and Plymouth.
At present, all of their produce is collected by lorry and transported to an ASDA depot in Bristol 140 miles away before it is driven back down the motorway to stores in Cornwall and Devon.
Chris Brown, ASDA's head of ethical and sustainable sourcing said: "We are committed to cutting the number of miles our food travels before it reaches our stores.
"Rather than send it up the motorway, our farmers in Cornwall will deliver it direct to their local stores. That way we can ensure our fruit and veg is as fresh as possible, and we'll minimise the impact on the environment."
Eighty ASDA stores across Britain already receive direct deliveries of locally produced strawberries during the British growing season. The scheme was first launched in Kent five years ago but has since been rolled out to Yorkshire, Scotland, West Midlands and the West Country and Cornwall. As a result sales of locally produced strawberries are up 48 per cent this year at ASDA.
This year locally grown plums are also being delivered direct to 22 ASDA stores in the Vale of Evesham and in Kent. The supermarket will also be selling locally produced Kentish cobnuts from the end of August in its stores in the region2.
The next local food range to launch at the supermarket it called 'Locally produced in Sussex'. From 15th September five ASDA stores across the region will start selling more than 60 local food products to their customers.