Tesco, the UK’s number one grocer, today (15 September) revealed that it is opening regional buying offices across the UK as part of its commitment to increase local sourcing.

The promotion of seasonal and local produce is part of the retailer’s 10-point Community Plan, unveiled by Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy in May.

Tesco’s commercial director, Richard Brasher, said the move is also a response to growing customer demand for fresher, locally sourced foods.

“We know our customers want to be able to buy more regional products. We also know that smaller suppliers have sometimes found it hard to approach the supermarkets in the past. We want to solve both these issues,” Brasher said.

“By opening regional buying offices with dedicated teams on the ground, we will achieve this and stock more local lines for our customers,” he continued.

Tesco said it has begun the process of recruiting regional food experts and putting regional counters in its stores. The company has already launched a regional sourcing website, where shoppers can recommend local products. It will also hold a series of roadshows around the UK where small to medium-sized local producers can pitch their products to Tesco buyers.

The move is part of Tesco’s attempt to revamp its image in the face of mounting concern over the supermarket’s power. 

Tesco said this was the first time any UK supermarket had opened nationwide regional buying offices and would result in hundreds of new local lines being stocked.