Waitrose is improving its supplier communications platform – Waitrose Engage – with a new service to support local and regional suppliers.

The upmarket grocer is boosting its commitment to British by encouraging suppliers to provide descriptions of their products, which are displayed in store.

Working with Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB), Waitrose is rolling out a solution on its Waitrose Engage platform which allows suppliers to draft a short region-specific explanation of their product. Once the grocer approves the text, a shelf-edge ticket is created.

"The provenance of food and drink is important to our customers and this is a great way for local and regional producers to reinforce their credentials. The new approach has far surpassed the previous procedure, with products displaying the latest tickets reportedly performing 25% better than those without," said Waitrose regional buyer, Tracey Marshall.

David Taylor, head of supplier engagement at Solutions for Retail Brands, explained: "We first present suppliers with a short video on best practice for getting the most out of Waitrose Engage and how this tool can benefit their business. This is a great opportunity to highlight the quality, provenance and integrity of ingredients and point of difference from other products in the Waitrose range."

Meanwhile, suppliers have been reaping the rewards also. Pipers Honey has reported a 400% increase in sales after its regional description was added to Waitrose shelves.