British Bakeries began delivering baked goods from speciality supplier La Fornaia to the Co-op group this week in a move that the retailer said would open the door to other regional suppliers.

The plant baker, which supplies the Co-op’s standard bread range, has agreed to collect from La Fornaia, based in North London, on a daily basis.

At the end of April, it will also collect from The French Croissant Company, based in the same industrial park as La Fornaia.

The deal has been driven by the Co-op and comes as the 3,000-shop retailer overhauls its bakery department, adding a premium packaged range, supplied by La Fornaia.

Co-op category development manager for produce and bakery Jill McCann told British Baker that the Co-op had previously avoided using regional bakery suppliers due to the logistical challenges of distributing the products to shops within their shelf-life.

She commented: "British Bakeries, our main bread supplier, has been very supportive of the idea. It was the only way we could bring La Fornaia’s premium products into stores nationwide, without losing a day by first bringing them into our own distribution centre."

The Co-op agreed a price that British Bakeries could charge La Fornaia, which cannot be changed.