Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Supermarkets are amazing, but slowly killing us, and a sustainable food industry

Supermarkets are amazing, a massive range of goods, all in one place with convenient access. They have however decimated the farming industry and separated us from producers with increasingly worrying consequences.

To me they are like alcohol, very addictive but if taken to often could kill. Like a decent ale, supermarkets can be very satisfying.

But watch out for the hangover. It is a well known fact that on average, for every £1 spent on food in a supermarket the farmer only gets 9p. This has already led to a large percentage of farmers selling up or giving up fruit and veg growing and switching to grain.

Coupons and special offers do not seem to effect supermarket profit so can’t be that special. More and more aisles and TV ads are devoted to salty ready meals, and some children do not know that milk comes from a cow, or apples grow on trees.

Like alcohol dulling our senses supermarkets dull our food buying. We just grab it off the shelf instead of thinking, touching, smelling and discussing what is best with the producer. This kills what little enthusiasm the average Brit has for food and must lead to a deteriorating diet as more people switch from seasonal food to ready meals.

We need to break our addiction and get enthused.

We need to cut down our supermarket visits. OK, a visit once a month to stock up on washing powder and tins is fine. For our weekly food needs we should reconnect with local producers communicate and encourage further production. Or even join the food industry and grow our own, join a local food growing scheme and trading via our Crop for the Shop scheme.

This will save most people money, as buying direct cuts out all the middle men margins, (and avoids the supermarket special offer temptations), and returns money back to the local economy to encourage further production. More people become enthused about food and in so doing eat seasonal fruit and veg, those who grow will also get ‘digging’ exercise all improving health.

Like cutting back on alcohol changing an addictive shopping habit is very difficult but very satisfying.

For more on how to break the supermarket habit, here is a previous blog.


  1. Tammy says:

    I love the term Crop for the Shop. One tip that I’ve learned is that if I do go to the supermarket, I stay to the outer aisles.

  2. You can’t beat a good local produce market. We’re really fortunate in Bridport, West Dorset to have a great range of local independent food business and producers. I agree that in a supermarket the outer aisles are where it’s at – because that’s where they keep all the fresh, real food!

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *