Are we losing our links to local produce?
Where do you go for your grocery shopping? I’m a self-confessed supermarket shopper. But is the convenience of supermarket shopping suppressing our appetite for locally produced food?
After work, I find that it’s simply easier to sweep in to the supermarket and do my shopping all in one place. And apparently, I’m not the only one. According to a report by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) this week, the rise of supermarket shopping is increasingly muscling local food out of the market.
Unable to compete with low supermarket prices, local food businesses are being eaten up (and spat out) by supermarket chains, which account for 97.8% of the grocery sector. Admittedly, this didn’t come as a revelation to me. As a city dweller, I know from experience that the convenience of supermarket shopping is hard to contend with.
Why buy local?
But with supermarkets only stocking between 0% and 4% of their produce from local suppliers, this number’s about as low as you can get without those suppliers being eaten up whole. Using local food, defined as ‘being grown or produced within 30 miles of where it’s sold’, is a tasty idea, with 16 million people agreeing as they seek out and buy local produce every week.
Knowing where your food has come from is certainly appealing and, if it doesn’t have to be trucked in from afar, so much the better. When I used to live with my parents in Kent, a nosey around the farm shop on a Saturday could turn up some great tasting gems – and there was something very satisfying about going to a local farmer for your eggs too.
Losing local links
However, despite there being an obvious interest out there, it appears that local produce is in danger of being killed off completely. But is it up to shoppers to seek out local produce, or should the supermarkets do more to ensure there is more available on their shelves?
I know I would be more tempted to buy local produce if it was more readily available where I shop, and I think that as the appetite is out there, supermarkets should sit up and take notice.
Do you regularly buy local produce? Should supermarkets be doing more to help out local suppliers and supporting local businesses?
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