Discount retail chains Lidl and Aldi have each bolstered contracts aimed at helping struggling British fresh food suppliers and consumers.
Lidl said it is pouring more than £70 million into a three-year deal with suppliers that handle root vegetables, including carrots, parsnips, and swedes.
Meanwhile, Aldi said it will be sinking more than £1.4 billion over the next two years into 500 new stores and bolstering its chains. In 2023, it invested some £1.4 billion on its supply chain.
“British suppliers are the lifeblood of our business and without them Aldi wouldn’t be where it is today. We will always be at their side,” said Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK. “Longstanding relationships with suppliers are at the heart of our success and we are proud to work with so many British suppliers, helping to bolster job opportunities and investment in the UK supply chain.”
Both business have been very out front in the mission, with Lidl standing by the “Backing British” campaign, whilst Aldi has introduced a ‘Best of British’ section to its website in hopes of driving interest among shoppers.
All of it is being done to help offset the tough times facing growers and others in the supply chain – both from inflation and weather events.
“As the whole market faces challenges, including unpredictable weather patterns, our decision to transition suppliers to longer contracts underscores our commitment to supporting local producers,” Paul Gibson, Buying Director at Lidl GB, said. “Not only is it an investment in the quality and consistency of our supply chain, but it’s also testament of our dedication to the British food industry.”
Lidl’s commitment to Backing British has hardly been an empty promise. Two thirds of all core produce appearing on its shelves come from its 650-plus suppliers in the UK. One of those is Burgess Farms, which has a 20-year partnership deal with Lidl.
“Entering our vicennial year with Lidl GB represents a significant milestone for us, and one we are very proud of,” said James Barker, COO of Burgess Farms. “Despite industry-wide challenges over the last two years, Lidl’s transparent and collaborative approach has enabled us to continue delivering excellent quality produce to its customers. Together, we’ve cultivated a sustainable British farming supply chain, from field to shelf, and the long-term agreement means we can continue to build on this in the future.”
Aldi, meanwhile, says three-fourths of all items in its 1,000-plus stores are from its 5,000 British suppliers and growers. It says it leads the UK in “sales of fresh British fruit and veg.”
“We are proud to champion so many British suppliers and they are at the heart of our success, allowing us to offer our customers great British quality at the best possible prices,” Ashfield said.