East of England Co-op bosses in fresh drive to promote locally sourced food

Opening of the new Co-op store on Cromer Road, Norwich. Left to right, John Cook (director East of E

Opening of the new Co-op store on Cromer Road, Norwich. Left to right, John Cook (director East of England Co-op), Sam McGhee (sales assistant), Sandy Gooch (store manager), Daisy Dugdale (sales assistant) and Roger Grosvenor (executive officer East of England Co-op)Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Bosses at the East of England Co-operative are set to undertake a fresh push to sell the virtues of locally sourced food.

The EDP Top 100 firm is launching 'Sourced Locally Fortnight', which begins in the first two weeks of June to drive further consumer awareness of the initiative which has been a key plank of its strategy since its launch in 2007.

It comes as new research commissioned by the firm shows that despite 86pc of adults in Norfolk stating its important to buy locally sourced food, only 29pc had done so in the last week.

The YouGov poll of 2,064 adults found that the Norfolk figure was just below the national figure of 30pc and compared to 31pc in Essex and an impressive 46pc in Suffolk.

Other findings show:

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n 62pc of GB adults have bought locally sourced produce at some point in the last year compared to 66pc in Norfolk

n 3pc of people in Norfolk admitted they had never bought local produce compared to a national figure of 3pc and 7pc in Essex

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n 44pc of adults in Norfolk stated they would be encouraged to buy more locally sourced produce if it helped with the creation of more jobs in the local area

n More women (62pc) than men (55pc) in Great Britain were likely to be put off buying locally sourced produce if the price wasn't right

The research highlighted that vegetables (50pc) and meat (47pc) topped the list when asked to select the two products that they would be most likely to buy if a locally sourced alternative was available; followed by eggs (41pc), fruit (24pc) and milk (19pc). Half (50pc) of those questioned thought they could buy locally sourced produce in a supermarket but only 27pc would expect to find it in a convenience store.

Roger Grosvenor, Executive Officer – Retail, East of England Co-op, said: 'This research confirms just how important locally sourced produce is. During Sourced Locally Fortnight we want to shine a spotlight on the great produce available across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. We know many of our customers love buying local and we want to encourage even more people to try something produced locally.

'If we could encourage every Norfolk household to swap just one product they regularly buy for a local alternative it could plough an extra £595,000 into the Norfolk economy.'

During Sourced Locally Fortnight the East of England Co-op is promising to offer an enhanced range of locally sourced produce in its stores throughout Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. For the first time the retailer will only stock locally sourced potatoes, strawberries and asparagus across every store. Shoppers will also be able to buy locally sourced key staples such as eggs, ham, sausages and cooking oil; plus other delicious items including chocolate and cookies.

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