The effect that large supermarkets are having on our rural communities and the landscape is huge. For every £1 spent at a supermarket as little as 10p is generated for the local economy. The other 90p leaves the area immediately. But this contrasts with the fact that every £1 spent at a local shop generates up to £3 of further business in your local area.
Campaign to Protect Rural England has recently stepped up its campaign to promote local foods by strongly objecting to Competition Commission proposals which would encourage more supermarkets to be built. If implemented, this measure could force hundreds of small and independent shops out of business, deny the consumer real choice and reduce the availability of local foods.
Supermarkets often do not have a clear definition of what is meant by ‘local food’. CPRE’s definition is that the product should be grown and processed within 30 miles of the store. Waitrose has adopted a definition of local foods based on this recommendation, and we hope that other supermarkets will follow its lead in order to give consumers a genuine, informed choice.
In addition we recently launched a new website run jointly with other organisations called www.makingfoodwork.co.uk. The CPRE are also getting active in local communities and schools to gain more support for local foods through our local branches. For example CPRE Cheshire has started a ‘Buy Local’ award scheme as part of its campaign to support locally-produced food. Eligible businesses include farm shops, market traders, high street shops and restaurants that make significant efforts to provide genuinely local food.