65 per cent of shoppers buying local produce
The number of consumers claiming to buy locally produced food and drink has increased by 6 per cent, according to IGD research published today.

The survey, commissioned by Food from Britain, found that 65 per cent of shoppers are now buying local produce. A further nine per cent said that they would follow suit if availability was better.

Over half of those who buy local produce cited supermarkets as their preferred retailers, but farm shops, butchers and farmers' markets were still popular choices.

The research showed an increased demand for meat, poultry and eggs as well as cooked-meat products such as pies and pastries. The purchase of specialised products, such as frozen desserts and alcoholic drinks, is also on the increase.

A 14 per cent increase in 24- to 30-year-olds buying local food was also reported.

Food from Britain chief executive David McNair said: 'The increased availability of regional foods is having a clear impact on sales, but there are still significant opportunities out there for producers, retailers and food service professionals. These are exciting times for the country's small producers and farmers, but key to this success is continuing to provide access to places selling local food, whether this is through supermarkets, convenience stores or restaurants.'

The freshness of the goods is still the top incentive to buy local (64 per cent), followed by support for local producers (31 per cent). Taste and quality are also key reasons.

The definition of local varied from region to region. Shoppers in Wales and Scotland define local as produce from their own countries, whereas consumers in England feel the term refers to produce coming from its country of origin.