Farm shops to battle multiples with Ice
The UK¬ís farm food sector has taken a major step to combat supermarkets.
Six of the country's largest farm food shops have come together for the first time under a new nationwide rewards scheme, called Ice, which allows consumers to buy their products online, in-store or via phone as well as offering a generous reward incentive which competes with similar schemes offered by the major retailers.
The farm shops which have joined, including one of the largest in the UK , Farrington’s, believe this could be the start of activity which revolutionises the sector and are calling on other farm shops, food delivery companies and artisan food producers to join them.
Paul Castle, Chief Operating Officer of Farrington’s, one of the UK’s largest farm shops, says, "This is about all the ‘little guy’ farm shops co-ordinating together for the first time and could have a massive effect on consumers as they will now be rewarded on a national level; none of us could ever do this alone.
“We know there is a huge public appetite for farm fresh food, and by coming together in the Ice loyalty programme we can begin to persuade significant numbers of consumers to buy their food direct from their local farm shop.
“Moreover supermarkets are generally affected by the VAT hike and rising fuel prices more than us because we have such low transport costs and because the majority of our foods are zero-VAT rated. So shopping with us is far less likely to result in you buying expensive VAT-able items also on sale in bigger outlets.”
Jude Thorne, CEO of The Ice Organisation says, “Ice is primarily about rewarding people for making more sustainable choices and we offer sustainable shopping across a range of sectors including travel, clothing and utilities. In terms of food, however, there is little doubt farm shops offer all consumers who want to buy locally produced food better value and taste with fewer food miles.”
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