The Importance of Local Food Sourcing

Locally sourced food

The Importance of Local Food Sourcing

The amount of local food sourcing has been amplified by several things, including the horsemeat scandal in 2012. Local sourcing has become an established strategy for UK retailers and consumer alike.

Local sourcing has many acknowledged benefits that retailers and consumers should appreciate.

  • Exceptional, fresh flavors.
  • Increased health protection.
  • Safer food supply.
  • Knowing how the food was produced.
  • Support for UK family farms.
  • Protection of the environment.
  • Money spent with local farmers stays close to home and is reinvested in local communities.
  • Local sourcing provides fresher, high quality food at reasonable prices.
  • Lower delivery costs.
  • The savings in transportation costs alone ensure more value per pound.

The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) reported in January, 2013, that demand for local foods has continued to grow through the recession. In a recent survey, the IGD states that 30 percent of consumers purchased locally produced food in December. That is double the rate in December 2006.

The trend is influenced by a number of factors including a push to buy goods grown in the UK. The IGD reports that:

  • 57 percent of today’s purchasers buy locally grown food because it is fresher.
  • 54 percent say they want to support local growers.
  • UK Food and Beverage Export Data

    The Food and Drink Federation produced the following statistics regarding UK and EU food export trade for 2012:
    UK food and non-alcoholic beverage exports to the EU declined by 1.4 percent in 2012.

    • Export of meat to the EU declined by 8.1 percent.
    • Dairy exports decreased by 9.7 percent.
    • Fish and seafood exports decreased by 10.7 percent.
    • Export food trade to the European Union slumped by £300m compared to 2011.

    Much of the export decline to the EU can be attributed to the rising strength of the pound and to an overall lack of consumer confidence throughout the region.

    However, as poorly as home grown products performed in the EU, exports of certain processed foods performed better. Value-added food export increased by 1.6 percent in 2012.

    • Soups (+24.2%)
    • Sausages (+22.2%)
    • Yoghurt (+19.8%)
    • Chocolate (+15.8%)
    • Bread (+14.7%)
    • Coffee (+10.4%)
    • Cakes (+8.4%)

    The export increase of the value-added goods resulted in gains of £100m over 2011.

    Exports to Non-EU Markets

    While the EU economy sagged as the region suffered negative GDP growth, exports to non-EU markets performed strongly in 2012, growing by 4.6 percent.

    Growth in UK food exports to Africa increase 15.6 percent.

    • Egypt increased 11.6 percent – potato exports doubled.
    • Exports to South Africa increased 21.9 percent.
    • Meat up 32 percent
    • Chocolate up 101 percent
    • UK soft drinks up 77 percent
    • Exports to Nigeria increased 16 percent – frozen fish up 140 percent.
    • Exports to the Middle East rose by 15.4 percent in 2012.
    • Exports to Saudi Arabia increased 30 percent.
    • Exports to United Arab Emirates also rose 30 percent.
    • Exports to Oceania increased by 10.4 percent mostly due to a double digit increase in food exports to Australia.

    Total Food Export Statistics

    Total export sales of foods and value added foods to all source amounted to £12.1bn. Non-EU export gains of 4.6 percent offset export declines to EU nations of -1.4 percent.

    The food and beverage export revenue never recovered from a disappointing first quarter, which fell by 5 percent in year-to-year comparisons.

    It should be noted that a key factor in the disappointing exports to the EU was the poor UK 2012 harvest. The autumn harvest damaged the grain export market as revenues for cereal exports decreased by £160m compared to Q4 2011.
    When UK beverage exports are included, total food and beverage exports in 2012 amounted to £18.7bn, an increase of 0.3 percent over 2011


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