Recession is good for local food

According to IGD’s Shopper Trends 2011, “over recent years, the economic downturn has accelerated the trend for locally sourced food, as shoppers have sought to support local economies and communities. In December last year, over half (52%) of shoppers claimed to purchase local products in order to support local producers, a quarter (25%) to support local retailers, and over a fifth (22%) to keep jobs in their area.”

Moreover, recent findings from their Shopper Track research show that “the trend for British and locally sourced products continues to grow:

  • Supporting local/British producers has now become the most important ethical criteria for shoppers (48%) when it comes to choosing grocery products
  • More than four in ten (42%) of shoppers claim they are prepared to pay extra for locally produced foods, increasing from 38% since December of last year.”

2 thoughts on “Recession is good for local food

  1. Cities aren’t places designed for food growing. I did some (very!) rough calculations about the area required to feed the 1M citizens of Birmingham (my home city), and it was roughly four times the size of the city itself, and assumed all of the land was prime, fertile, highly intensively farmed land . . . and empty of people!

    Fling in, too, modern logistics and distribution systems — and even the means by which our hinterlands brought food into the city, our Wholesale Markets, are under threat seen, as they are by policy decision-makers as a failing commercial/property location and not as part of the infrastructure of the city — even though our Michelin starred restaurants and other great food outlets think it’s brill.

    Modern systems, the Cargills and supermarkets of today’s world, are hugely efficient at feeding the millions in this country, and billions worldwide. The feeding 9 billion of us without these systems is scary — and with them, it’s scary for a whole host of other reasons too.

    Locally produced food? Sure, a few like growing food, and people want to buy local. And there’s nowt to beat the taste of very fresh produce. Plus places as different as Toronto and Todmorden brilliantly demonstrate the massive social benefits from growing, nurturing and preparing food — important stuff like social cohesion, a sense of conviviality, the delight of youngsters, the health of citizens and issues of food deserts and food poverty . . .

    Yet, yet . . . Food Matters estimate that a mere 0.14% of food in Brighton & Hove is produced in allotments and gardens. Imagine boosting this tenfold . . . and it’s still only 1.4% of the requirement of the people there. I suspect that figures for Brum are broadly similar.

    A challenge. To say the least!

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