SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths has started stocking produce from small producers.
Spokeswoman Kristen Young said it was part of a bid to tap into the popularity of buying local.
Woolworths is searching for small and medium-sized food manufacturers it would previously have overlooked because they didn't have the scale to supply its network of 890 stores.
One producer in Tasmania is supplying just three supermarkets with its rhubarb products.
In Victoria, Geoff West owns Daylesford small gourmet manufacturing business Country Cuisine and is supplying 30 Woolworths stores with four jams from his range of gourmet jams and chutneys.
"We'd been trying to access the big supermarkets for some time but it wasn't possible because of our size. Now we have the opportunity, our sales will increase a lot," he said.
Mr West said the first order for 30 stores came to 2880 jars.
"Supplying Woolworths will also be beneficial to our local suppliers - for example PFD Food services Ballarat with sugar, Visy box makers and our glass jar supplier, Plasdene," he said.
"And where we can we source local ingredients, a local farmer supplies blackberries, and it will be good for them too."
The rollout of the new products began this week across stores in Bendigo, Wonthaggi, Torquay and Monbulk.
"If things go well, we'll start supplying Woolworths supermarkets in other states," Mr West said.
Woolworths supermarket managing director Tjeerd Jegen said the company had appointed a buying team in each state to find local products to add to the range, with no minimum on how many stores could be supplied.
"Previously, we'd only work with you if you could be ranged in hundreds of stores, but now there's no threshold," he said.
The new strategy will also allow suppliers to deliver their products directly to the store in which they will be sold.
Mr Jegen said pricing would be in line with the suppliers' other sales channels and there would be no negotiation on prices.
"It's purely an added benefit for customers," he said.