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Local food is cheaper and better, how do we break the supermarket habit

Local food is cheaper, fresher, boosts the local economy, encourages more local production and is often more convenient. No doubt why 80% of consumers say they would like to buy local food. So why do only 25% actually buy local food? And what will make more people switch from the supermarket, to local?

Is the supermarket habit so difficult to break? Do we need to study Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs to work out why people are so attracted to them, or simply look at the main drivers (D) and provide a alternatives (A)?

So here is a list of Drivers and alternatives
1. Convenient one stop shop
D. With thousands of products under one roof you can park your car, load your trolley and have everything in the car in no time.
A. Do we really need all those products every day, surely fresh, seasonal, fruit, veg, meat, milk and eggs are better for us.

2. Supermarkets are cheap
D. Supermarket buying power must mean they can get everything cheaper and pass on the saving to customers?
A. Yes, to shampoo, loo rolls, and many long shelf life products. Although I have noticed that my village shop has many of the same deals as the local Tesco superstore. And as for seasonal fruit and veg, local should be cheaper without the long supply chain costs the supermarkets have. We have 1,600 local food outlets on our food map flagged with a ‘£’ sign meaning they are cheaper than the supermarket.



3. Loyalty points
D. People love the loyalty cards and perceive they are saving loads of money
A. Someone has to pay for the points and as the supermarkets make further billions in profits, it must be the consumer.

4. Getting a bargain
D. End of aisle discounts and ‘to clear’ shelves give the huge satisfaction you have found a bargain. (our hunter instinct?)
A. As above for every bargain there are hundreds of other products to make up the big profit.

5. No plan, no shopping list, shop
D. If everything is in one place you don’t need to plan for the week’s meals, you can see what is on offer.
A. Why not go to you local shop, find what is in season, fresh, and cook with healthy ingredients.

6. Security and knowledge
D. The supermarket is easy, you know where most things are, everything is on big shelves, and no one will laugh at me if I don’t know the difference between a brisket and a sirloin.
A. Your local shop might be closer, less choice means easier to choose, and have friendly staff to help you buy the right product and provide tips on how to cook it. They would be MAD to laugh at you, a valuable, local, customer with friends.

What's in that burger?

What’s in that burger?

7. Quick and easy
D. Everything in one place makes the shop quick and easy
A. Does it really? Your local shop might be closer, no car park to hike across, or milk 100 yards from the bread, special offers on DVDs, or sweets by the till to make the kids whine and increase your spend!

8. Ready meals
D. For people working, or haters of cooking, supermarkets have a huge choice of ready, or quick cook, meals, to suit the whole family.
A. Mum cooking 3 different ready meals for the two kids and Dad is not good for anyone, and a big contributor to obesity. If you can read you can cook! Now we have video recipes it is even easier. We need to get kids enthused about food, and cooking, and get the family eating together.

9. Trust
D. We can trust the big brand supermarkets because they really care.
A. They care about your money to increase their profit to grow and give shareholders a dividend. A local family business cares about the long term its reputation and next generations.

The BigBarn local food map

The BigBarn local food map

So loads of ‘drivers’ and ‘alternatives’ that need to be promoted to change people’s attitudes and habits. Have the supermarkets got the power to keep their market share? Or have they become complacent? As shown by an offer I saw saying; “One for £1 or TWO for £2”, treating customers like idiots.

BigBarn is here to promote the viable alternative, change attitudes, and catalyse the switch to local food. All giving consumers, and farmers, a better deal in the process.
To make it happen we:
1. Provide the definitive database of local food outlets on our map with each updating their icon & webpage with a password.
2. Provide marketing tools & technology to help each tell their story to win customers, including, video, online shops, offers, and photos.
3. Promote ‘Crop for the shop‘ to get people growing food to sell through their local shop and in the process help that shop stock a wider range of produce.
4. Get our map on as many other websites as possible to help more people find and buy local food.

We hope you like our mission and as a Community Interest Company welcome you as a valuable member of our consumer community. You can register for our newsletter for local food news & offers, advise local food outlets to get on our map and tell their story, and tell your friends we need to switch away from the supermarket. We need to move as much of the £120b spent with supermarkets every year to local, food supply chains with massive social and economic benefits to us all.