Shoppers develop a taste for local flavour

Sales of local produce have soared in the past three years, outstripping Fairtrade and animal-friendly products

Food and grocery analyst, IGD, reported that nearly 30 per cent of shoppers have specifically chosen locally produced food in the past month compared with 27 per cent who have bought Fairtrade products and 18 per cent who have bought items boasting of high animal welfare standards.

Shoppers are primarily motivated by the belief that locally produced food will be fresher, with more than half saying that they had sought out local food because they did not have to travel as far.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD’s chief executive, said: “These figures prove what we have been saying throughout the recession – shoppers are looking for both value and values. They also expect the grocery industry to support their moral and ethical values.”

Despite the growth of locally produced food, sales of organic produce have suffered during the recession, as consumers became more price-conscious.

Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, has argued that customers had been buying organic goods as a proxy for fairtrade or high animal welfare products. Organic producers had not done a good enough job at explaining what they “stood for”.

Last week Tesco launched a campaign entitled “Enjoy the taste of…” – encouraging customers to buy local produce.

Waitrose has dedicated sections for local fruit and vegetables at dozen of its stores.


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