UK retailer Asda today (3 April) said that local food sales are up 41% on last year in England and Wales.

Scotland and Northern Ireland has also shown an increase in sales, of 29%.

Caroline Burgess, Asda customer planning manager for emerging markets, believes that the success is down to its hub system and "a willingness to listen to customers".

Burgess added: "41% growth in the last twelve months in England and Wales is a phenomenal result and means that local is now as big as more established areas of the business, such as fish.

"Asda's hub system has been in place since 2002 and we have nine hubs working in fourteen regions across the UK working directly with local suppliers to guide them through the Asda accreditation process and act as a single distribution point, saving on average three million food miles a year."

The retailer said that some of the current local products in Asda stores outsell more established national brands. It cited Cain's brewery in Merseyside, Ellis eggs in Wales and M.I. Dickinson's pies in the North East, all of which outsell Asda own-brand equivalent goods.

A spokesperson for Asda told just-food that the sales increase has been a mixture of more demand and more availability.

"The current climate has seen a move to more trusted, friendlier, nostalgic local foods (increase in sales of local pies, for example) whilst Asda's investment in researching and improving local lines has led to a wider availability - well over 6,000 local foods now available.

"This isn't an overnight success either - work with hubs on local produce started in 2002," the spokesperson added.