Why we all stand to benefit when consumers #buybritish

posted on 25/07/2013 15:03:44 by Dan O'Sullivan

With consumers being urged to buy British food to support the UK's farmers, is there an opportunity to boost local economies?

Perfect union: Producers, independent retailers and consumers alike can all benefit when people buy more British produce

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) is flying the flag for home produce by encouraging consumers to buy British food in higher quantities. More than 200 farmers and growers throughout the country are already on board with the #buybritish campaign, which is being promoted via Twitter and through banners at a number of countryside locations.

It's not uncommon to see a Union Jack sticker stamped on supermarket products because major retailers understand there is big demand for British produce. For some consumers the labelling evokes a sense of trust in what they're eating, or even a fleeting wave of patriotism, but perhaps the strongest reason to buy British is because it's the responsible thing to do.

Multiple wins

This is where products sold by independent food retailers can have an edge over those offered by more powerful multiples.

While retail giants such as Tesco and Asda can push British produce to appeal to a certain kind of buyer, they cannot sell a local connection with suppliers with the same degree of conviction available to an independent retailer.

While retail giants such as Tesco and Asda can push British produce to appeal to a certain kind of buyer - and their buying power is of course crucial to the livelihoods of British farmers - they cannot sell a local connection with suppliers with the same degree of conviction available to an independent retailer.

Most compellingly as far as #buybritish is concerned, smaller stores can lay claim to the fact that buying from them has a more positive impact on the surrounding area. A consumer's purchase from a local retailer effectively boosts the local economy whereas a similar transaction in a chain store arguably does not.

Evidence to this effect comes from a very respected source. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) recently published research that shows small local businesses generated £746 million more for their local economies than larger businesses last year - despite authorities spending more money with the bigger players.

Willingness to buy

This chimes nicely with a recent poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Prince's Countryside Fund. According to that, 81% of people believe it is important to buy British products wherever possible in order to support the nation's farmers - and that consumers are willing to pay more if they know the extra money is going to farmers rather than supermarket shareholders.

There's clearly a big market here - so it's up to participating retailers to convey their local credentials effectively.

They should also be buoyed by the fact that establishing sustained collaboration with nearby farms provides an opportunity to reduce overheads. Forming a more efficient supply chain and working with manufacturers and farmers that are only a short distance away can greatly reduce expenditure on transport and logistics. This in turn can help retailers find more competitive price points that encourage new and repeat custom.

There are clearly plenty of good reasons to #buybritish - and with producers, retailers and consumers all likely to benefit in different ways, we're giving our full backing to the NFU's campaign.

Follow the NFU on Twitter: @NFUtweets

Dan O'Sullivan

Dan O’Sullivan is Make It Cheaper's Web Content Manager, which means much of his time is dedicated to ensuring we have plenty of online material to help business owners understand the energy, insurance and telecoms industries. With years of experience working alongside SMEs, Dan is committed to making life as easy as possible for smaller firms. You can email Dan at dan.osullivan@makeitcheaper.com

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