Local blue stickers get green light at Tesco!

Ards Peninsula vegetable grower, Roy Lyttle Produce, is going from strength to strength thanks in some part to a simple idea from Tesco, to which they supply a wide range of seasonal vegetables.

Roy Lyttle, company owner, explains, “Last year Tesco Technologist Hannah Stewart visited our crops here on the Ards Peninsula.  She was very impressed with the quality and suggested that Tesco should highlight that the vegetables in store were grown in an area renowned for horticulture.

“We agreed on a simple blue sticker with local monument Scrabo Tower and our company logo depicted with the message ‘Grown on the Ards Peninsula by Roy Lyttle’ to be placed on the packs.

Launched firstly in autumn last year on the organic lines, the sticker was then applied to all leeks and most recently scallions, all home grown and packed on the Ards Peninsula.

Roy is also Chairman of the UFU Vegetable Committee, and is very positive about the prospects for the Horticulture industry in Northern Ireland.

“We are striving to increase the length of season of supply of all local produce in an effort to reduce imports, and consequently food miles, as the promotional company Food N. I. would say, ‘Grown here, not Flown here!’

Grown on the Ards peninsula sticker

“Northern Ireland has the potential to produce the wider range of products which today’s consumer demands. The majority of vegetable growers deliver a finished product which is very labour intensive. However the more products we can supply the more we will grow, harvest, prepare, package and deliver to the customers here in Northern Ireland and ultimately create and sustain jobs right across the food production industry. While labour and fuel costs have risen, research has shown that it is the consistently high quality of fresh, local, seasonal products which keeps the customers coming back.”

Based on this the company is growing additional vegetable lines and extending and refurbishing the packhouse facilities in order to accommodate the increase in demand.

Hannah said, “I am delighted with the success of this simple sticker idea.  Our shoppers get clear information as to the provenance of these products, and can make a distinct choice to support their local producers.  Working in partnership with Roy Lyttle Produce has been mutually beneficial and I am delighted with the success in highlighting local provenance to our Irish customers.”