Belfast Telegraph

Class act: Asda initiative sends suppliers back to school

By David Elliot

Supermarket Asda is set to take some of its suppliers back to school.

It has launched the Supplier Development Academy (SDA) in an effort to drive up sales by 30% in amongst the selected suppliers and promote innovation.

A total of 11 suppliers from Northern Ireland have been picked to attend the four-month programme which will include workshops on product development and innovation, sales "maximisation", marketing techniques and streamlined account management.

Suppliers taking part in the Academy include Quinfresh, White's, Neill's Flour, Mash Direct, Doherty -amp; Gray, Gilfresh, Linwoods, The Really Good Food Company, Flynn's Fine Foods, Cloughbane Farm, and James Doherty Meats,

Trials of the academy in Scotland in 2011 saw suppliers increase their sales by 36%, and David Quigg from Asda's NI Buying Team believes the same can be achieved here.

"Not only is this a significant investment in NI's food sector, but it represents economic benefits for all involved as success and growth for our suppliers also means success for the local agri-food sector and for Asda."

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI's food director, said the initiative helps smaller food firms "to find out what major UK retailers expect from suppliers".