Demand increased for local products says Southern Co-op
Shoppers are buying 40% more local products than they did five years ago, says the Southern Co-op.
The group made the announcement as it celebrated the 15th anniversary of its own local food and drink range, Local Flavours.
The Local Flavours range was first introduced in 2007 on the Isle of Wight and supports farmers and producers, bringing local food and drink from across southern England to Southern Co-op’s stores. It now includes about 2,000 products from more than 200 suppliers.
In 2021, there were more than 3.5 million products sold from its Local Flavours range, a 40% increase from just over 2.5 million in 2017.
To mark the occasion, the Local Flavours team will be visiting a number of its regional producers to recognise their hard work.
Matt Elliott, Southern Co-op’s retail buying and services manager, said: “As an independent, regional co-operative, we strive to be a sustainable and responsible business and our Local Flavours range is just one way in which we achieve this.
“Over the last 15 years, we have developed some incredible relationships with our Local Flavours producers and discovered hidden talent that has gone on to be stocked on shelves nationwide.”
Every county where Southern Co-op trades has a bespoke Local Flavours range that may include cheeses, yogurts, cream, ice-cream, cakes and baked goods, sandwiches, meat, fish or beer. On the Isle of Wight, Southern Co-op’s partnership with Briddlesford Farm Dairy has provided local stores with products from their pedigree Guernsey cows after it became unsustainable for it to be shipped off the island.
Paul Griffin, the fourth generation of the Griffin family to run the farm, said: “Working with Southern Co-op has meant a lot to us at Briddlesford Lodge Farm. Southern Co-op could see the quality and provenance of our products and were able to offer us access to a much wider customer base, through their many stores.
“This was a big step up for Briddlesford, and eventually enabled us to significantly expand this aspect of our business.
“It gave us confidence to work with larger customers and, in turn, this has helped to preserve our family farm and our iconic dairy herd on the Isle of Wight.”