Lomond aims for 50% local range by end of ‘22
LOCAL sourcing is high on the agenda at Lomond Fine Foods Wholesale.
The Glasgow-based wholesaler already has a Scottish offer worth shouting about – with 41% of its 3,000 strong range locally sourced – but the goal is to hit 50% by the end of this year.
Barbara Henderson, co-founder and director of Lomond, said she believes the firm will achieve that target ahead of the deadline.
Trying to buy local has been a priority for Lomond from day one, according to Henderson, but the wholesaler’s local sourcing was ramped up last year when it was tasked with supplying the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow.
For COP26, 80% of the produce Lomond supplied had to be locally sourced, meaning the wholesaler was on the hunt for producers across a broad range of categories throughout 2021.
“In that journey, while looking for the lines that were asked for, we also stumbled across many really great producers that we’ve added into our portfolio,” she said.
For COP26, the environmental advantages of locally sourced food and drink were apparent – but UN climate delegates aren’t the only ones concerned with where their food comes from.
Henderson reckons that shoppers are more interested in provenance than ever and she said she thinks changes are being driven by consumer choice.
Lomond is helping to drive that change too and the wholesaler has been doing its bit to bring small local suppliers up to speed on essentials.
Henderson said that when dealing with small producers, the team at Lomond is happy to talk them through everything from food certification schemes like SALSA to pallet configuration and shared margin.
“We will lead the producer through all those steps as they may not understand all the requirements,” she said.
Lomond’s knowledge sharing goes beyond its own customers. Henderson’s husband Sam sits on the SWA’s committee for local sourcing and has produced educational tutorial pieces for workshops the association has run in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink.
All that effort may sound like a good deal for suppliers, but it’s also smart business for Lomond. When many firms were faced with an availability crisis last year, Henderson said Lomond was able to maintain high levels in part thanks to its relationships with a range of local suppliers.
Those suppliers will also have an opportunity to reach out to retailers, grocery and foodservice buyers and more this May, as part of Lomond’s 25th anniversary tradeshow.
The first in-person tradeshow hosted by Lomond since the onset of the pandemic, this year’s event will be spread across two marquees over 18 & 19 May.
One of the event’s marquees will be dedicated to foodservice, while the other will be focused on local suppliers.
The event is free to attend for all, not just Lomond customers, and Henderson said there will be deals and discounts available on the day.
“But moreover, the best bit is coming along and seeing what produce is on offer. We don’t just exhibit what we’re stocking, it’s very much an innovation piece, so we encourage our suppliers to exhibit their ‘in the pipe’ innovation products to get feedback from the consumer end-user.
“It gives an opportunity for our customers or even potential customers to come along and see what’s coming next, what are manufacturers working on that we need to have one eye on for the future,” she said.