SUPERMARKET chain Morrisons have launched a search for local food and drink producers to pitch for shelf space in the stores. The search means that customers will be able to buy more food from Morrisons that was grown or made in the North West. The supermarket already stocks several foods the North West is famous for – from Real Lancashire Eccle’s Cakes which are still produced in the region, to local cheeses from Cheshire, Lancashire and the Lake District and ales like Hawkshead Lakeland Gold and Thwaites Wainwright. The latest search is aimed at uncovering those hidden gems from the North West that will offer Morrisons’ customers more food and drink that meets their local tastes as well as products that were grown or made ‘just down the road’ from their communities. Lauren Sayward, Morrisons Regional Manager for the North West says: “Our customers tell us they want to see even more food that is made in the region and that’s why we’re asking the best suppliers to get in touch.” In their search for the next ‘Bartons Pickles’, Morrisons buyers will invite the best local suppliers to showcase their products at an event in Lancashire at the beginning of April. Successful suppliers will then have the opportunity to be listed in Morrisons stores. Morrisons will also be working with members of the Women’s Institutes in their communities around the UK, using their local knowledge and expertise to source and select the best suppliers in their area. The supermarket’s search is announced as a report was published last week by leading expert on global food issues, Professor Tim Benton. The report says it makes sense for the UK to be more self-sufficient in food production and build up a stronger local food sector in the face of global uncertainties. In the report Professor Benton, from the University of Leeds, calls on British retailers to boost local UK food making and production to support local food makers which will reduce food miles and support local businesses and countryside. How to get involved For further information about the programme, entry requirements and terms or to apply, please visit www.morrisons.com/local The closing date for the event in Lancashire is Friday 10th March.