Buying and eating local produce has never been so popular. That’s because there are some very good reasons to choose products made, reared or grown locally around the UK

We’re loving local

From world-famous Melton Mowbray pork pies in the Midlands to refreshing cider in Somerset, traditional food and drink is part of our UK heritage. 

As well as the obvious environmental benefits of reducing the distance goods travel to make it onto our shelves, local produce also celebrates the diversity which makes up the rich tapestry of regional cultures in Britain. And, with delicious new food and drinks being developed by local producers all the time, it’s anyone’s guess what the regional food stars of the future will be. 

Local products are often the result of the driving passion of people who have been spurred into entrepreneurial action by a strong belief that they can offer something better or different to the run-of-the-mill. These producers - often small or family run set-ups with a real sense of pride in their work - tend to have high quality standards and strong ethics about their products and manufacturing methods. Local producers are also central to the health and prosperity of local communities and economies. Not only do they provide jobs for people in the area, but they themselves often support other local producers, meaning more of their profits go back to benefit the local community.

For all of these reasons and more, co-operatives like ours support local producers. Plus it means that our customers and members can enjoy a wonderful choice of regional food and drink without having to scour the high street. As well as supporting local producers, The Co-operative Food also has a long-standing commitment to home-grown produce, and has recently signed up to the National Farmers’ Union’s Back British Farming Charter. All fresh chicken, pork, beef and turkey sold through The Co-operative stores is 100% British, as are all own-brand sausages, burgers and ham, together with all own-brand eggs, milk and cream. Only British meat is used in Truly Irresistible, Eat In and BBQ products, too.

Local facts

 

  • The UK’s national fruit collection contains 2,300 different varieties of apple.
  • On average, about 6,000 tonnes of honey is produced each year in the UK, but a typical worker bee produces only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its life.
  • If all foods were sourced from within 20km of where they were consumed, the country would save £2.1 billion a year in environmental and congestion costs.
  • 90% of fruit and 56% of veg eaten in the UK is imported.
  • Chicken is the most popular meat in the UK; it’s a healthy choice, being low in fat and high in protein.
  • As a nation, we boil, poach, scramble, fry and bake with around 31 million eggs a day.
  • There are around 1,000 UK companies producing ice cream, and each of us licks and slurps our way through an estimated 9 litres every year.
  • Although only 1% of the UK population is employed in agriculture, these people produce over 60% of the food we eat.
  • The top three reasons shoppers give for buying local food are: 
  1. to support local farmers and producers (56%)
  2. quality (54%)
  3. to support the local economy (51%)