From cauliflower crisps to cocktail-flavoured jams, Asda’s new Nurture range – a collection of products from 15 up-and-coming brands – is bringing a fresh approach to supermarket shelves.
Described by the supermarket’s Alicia Clow as an “incubator programme”, the Nurture programme, which launched earlier this week, signifies Asda’s ongoing commitment to support smaller, independent suppliers, giving them access to valuable shelf space and the ability to reach more customers.
It also acts as a mentor programme, offering support and advice to the emerging brands, guiding them carefully through their first Big 4 grocer listing.
“It’s the first time any of these brands have been listed in a supermarket, so it’s completely new to all of them,” Clow told Grocery Gazette.
“The Nurture programme means we can offer support and advice to help the suppliers understand how to work with a large retailer, something none of them have ever experienced before. We want them to take everything they learn from us and use it as a springboard for the future.”
The initiative also allows consumers to access 46 new products from smaller suppliers, which they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Ranges have been chosen carefully. Asda’s dedicated emerging suppliers buyer has been looking for innovative and exciting new brands from across the UK since October last year, when the programme first began.
“As well as the more traditional ways of sourcing suppliers, we also use the RangeMe tool, which is a really great way of finding exciting new products,” said Clow.
“The online platform lets suppliers grow their brands by bidding for a chance to speak with our buyers. Then we can do the due diligence and take it from there.”
The range will be displayed in-store with the full Nurture branding, which includes a QR code that takes consumers directly to online information about the new lines.
“We’re so excited about the potential for these new lines,” said Clow. “It feels like it’s taken a while to get here as the suppliers have already learnt so much, but we’ve only been working on it for six months really.”
The new products – including alcohol-free drinks, spirits, specialist snacks and healthy treats – have been rolled out across almost 100 Asda stores so far. The expectation is that they will be rolled out nationwide as part of the supermarket‘s main range as they grow in popularity, with new brands coming in to take their place.
A number of the products are also exclusive to Asda – such as Ellers Farm Distillery’s Yorkshire-produced Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka – so customers won’t be able to find them anywhere else.
According to Clow: “The brands themselves are really exciting. There are some that consumers will recognise, but with something extra which makes them a bit different.
“Then there will be others that are more surprising, which people will have never seen before – like Nudie Crisp’s cauliflower crisps, which are actually very tasty!”
Frozen lines will also be available from 14 April.