A Scottish butcher is helping small independent traders to get their products on supermarket shelves.

Falkirk-based Malcolm Allan, which metamorphosed from a family-owned chain of 20 shops in 1995 to just one shop and a manufacturing plant which supplies pies and sausages, will act as 'hub', receiving and distributing for food and drink manufacturers.

Managing director Gordon Allan said: "We had strong links with Adsa. We know its system and will be consolidating the load, as the same system is used whether you book in one pallet or 20 boxes."

He added that Asda has selected his firm in line with growing consumer emphasis on local sourcing and traceable products. Malcom Allan has linked with 20 local businesses, including Mathiesons Bakers, Traditional Scottish Ales and Tilly Confectionery, to co-ordinate a seamless supply of Scottish food products from growers and manufacturers. It plans to link with a further 20.

Gordon said: "The food hub is a win-win situation, providing the right channels to allow some local businesses to trade with some of the country's biggest stores while giving the retailer, and most importantly the customer, the quality and variety of produce from their local area in the convenience of their local supermarket."

Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley helped the firm build a network of local producers and provided financial assistance in meeting set up costs associated with the formation of the hub.

Stuart Ogg, director of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, said: "Malcolm Allan is a good example of an old fashioned business that has moved with the times and seized the opportunities in today's marketplace.

"We are confident that the food hub will continue to go from strength-to-strength opening doors for many other businesses across Forth Valley."

James Dodd, Asda's chief Scottish buyer, said the deal would make Falkirk home to the country's first food hub and he was pleased the company's long relationship had been extended and strengthened.

? The first Asda local sourcing hub was set up in Cumbria in 2002 by producer Plumgarths which supplies Asda's top-selling sausage on a store-by-store basis. It co-ordinates around 16 other producers in the region.

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