Co-operative giving out free ice cream from van to celebrate anniversary

Southern Co-op staff launching their LocalFlavours campaign

Picture: Darin Higgs/Umbala Photography
Southern Co-op staff launching their LocalFlavours campaign Picture: Darin Higgs/Umbala Photography
Jack Martin is calling for the return of this much-loved Tom Parker milk float after it was stolen during the night

Original Tom Parker Dairies milk float is stolen

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The Co-operative is celebrating 10 years of supporting local food and drink producers by launching a 10-county tour.

The ‘#LocalFlavours’ campaign sees a Co-op bus, branded in the style of a VW camper van, drive along the south coast with local food heroes to meet members of the public.

We are one of the very few major retailers who run our local sourcing as a separate entity within our business

Kate Hibbert, Southern Co-op’s local sourcing manager

The journey is setting out to highlight some of the best artisan food producers who provide top quality food and drink to local stores.

The van began its venture on June 10 at Southern Co-op’s headquarters in Lakeside, Portsmouth. Staff handed out free ice cream from Hampshire producer Jude’s and then got back on the road to travel through places such as the Isle of Wight, to sample The Tomato Stall, and Chewton Glen for the Hampshire Food Festival Launch.

The bus will make its final stop at The Crusty Cob in Devon on July 6.

The Co-op wanted to show its support for local produce by visiting suppliers and giving their members an insight into local food production.

Kate Hibbert, Southern Co-op’s local sourcing manager said: ‘We are one of the very few major retailers who run our local sourcing as a separate entity within our business, which enables us to develop and retain very close relationships with our suppliers and to offer our customers a fabulous range of local food and drink, produced by people who are very passionate about what they do.’

The campaign aims to encourage people living across the 10 counties in the south to support their local producers.

A discount is also being offered on local food and drinks in stores while the campaign runs to enable customers to try new things.