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If local food is cheaper, and better, how do we get more people to switch from the supermarket to buying local.

Many of our previous blogs have talked about saving money by switching from the supermarket to local food producers and small retailers.

Buying seasonal food, direct, means saving money by cutting out the supply chain cost, and not wasting money on ‘temptations’ like DVDs and special offers.

In these austere times you would expect this to be the major factor in getting people to change. Especially when 80% of people say they want to buy local food. So why do only 25% of people actually buy local food, and what will get more to switch?

Perhaps people don’t know they can save money. Or don’t believe supermarkets are more expensive. “How can they be, with all that buying power”, I hear people say.

Another problem is that most people know where their nearest supermarkets are, but not their local producers, farm shops, or friendly butcher.

Answer: There should be more media coverage, social networking, and price comparison in shops.

And a definitive database of local producers and retailers on many websites, so that people can find their local food suppliers. Like the BigBarn Local Food map. This map has now been packaged so that any other website can have it to look as though it is theirs and earn a commission on trade.


Many people also feel safe in the supermarket and are worried that the local butcher or retailer will laugh at them if they ask a silly question.

Answer: Local food suppliers should make a quick You Tube video to show how friendly and enthusiastic they are about their produce. These videos can then be seen on their BigBarn page.

Loyalty schemes
Millions of people are obsessed with their loyalty cards and points.

Answer: People must realise that any loyalty points are given are paid for by higher priced products.

It is great to go to a shop where everything is in one place and you can wheel your trolley back to the car. You can pick up things you did not have on your list.

Answer; Supermarket meat is not good, and veg not fresh, a local producer/small retailer might be closer and cheaper. Do you need, everything every week, switch to buying local every week for fresh food and leave the supermarket to once a month.

Special Offers
When supermarkets buy so much they have to clear their shelves and often have great bargains.

Answer; Yes, sometimes. More often however they use ‘offers’ to get you to spend more than you wanted and many ‘offers’ are actually more expensive; One 185g pack foe 2.75 or two for £5. Just below a 250g pack is not on offer at £2.50 cheaper!

With their big business status, their constant marketing & UK food standards you can trust supermarkets to look after you.

Answer; when offers are not ‘special’ and very little of your money returns to farmers & your community, do supermarkets really deserve your trust? A local business who’s reputation is at stake will reward your trust and will grow more and employ more local people as his/her business grows.

And now for some reasons to shop locally where the supermarkets can’t compete:

The Story
Wouldn’t you like to know the story of the food you buy? What’s in season, how fresh, animal welfare, where and how the animals have been produced, the best cuts of meat for your recipe, how long has that beef been hung,recipes for seasonal fruit & veg, why is that bread so tasty, what’s so special about that product

Many farm shops have animals for the kids to look at, play areas, picnic sites, tractor rides and some even pig or sheep racing. A great day out while doing the boring old shop!

Selling Grow your own
Many local retailers will be happy to sell food that you have grown. This is a great way for small shops to get fresh fruit and veg and for you to join the food industry. Look for rossettes on icon on the BigBarn local food map for BigBarn ‘Crop for the Shop‘ participants.

Events and celebrations
Many farm shops have seasonal food celebrations and events like ‘Apple day’, ‘Asparagus week’ or regular Farmers Markets to meet the local farmers.

So, some great reasons to try your local producers and make the switch. If I have missed any other reasons please comment below.


  1. I think this is a great article. It sets out the reasons clearly and simply why we should buy local. I do not have a great many followers on Facebook(not yet still new) but I will be sharing this article. I have already been trying to persuade fans to buy local and eat more organic foods.

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