Is it a challenge to shop locally?
1st August 2017
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For those that don’t know on Thursday 20th May 2017 I challenged myself to buy all my food from local independent retailers, I’m proud to be able to say that so far, 70 plus days later I’m still on track.

I’ve garnered a lot of interest and people are, in the main very supportive and positive, however there are two questions everyone asks me:

  1. Is it more expensive?
  2. Does it take longer?

 My answer isn’t definitive for either. 


So far I've not been spending any more than I would do normally on food shopping, but I've never really had to stick to a budget or routine when shopping: I shop when I need to and buy what I need and/or what takes my fancy.  I've tried to analyse it on a product basis, and I've done some research on what similar items would cost in the supermarket, however this isn't possible on a lot of items as the local shops tend to support local and artisan brands that simply wouldn't be available in the big chain supermarkets. I think a fair comparison would be with the supermarket premium ranges and the farm shop prices seem to be about the same. My veg box is definitely working out cheaper than buying the products from the supermarket at the minute, but that might change in the winter when produce is less abundant.  The advantage of buying fruit and veg from a shop is that I buy exactly what I want, rather than getting pre-prepared packs, which means I'm also creating less packaging waste too.  So for me the answer would be, no, I don't believe so if you compare the same quality of product.

As for the time question; again that’s a difficult one. I’ve definitely shopped less often, as I simply don’t have the luxury of popping to the supermarket at any time of the day or night. And because the shops tend to be smaller my actual time spent in the shops is considerably less. Previously it wouldn’t be unusual to spend an hour doing my ‘big shop’ whereas now the only way I’d spend an hour shopping would be if I had a coffee in the café as well!  So I think my answer to the time that would also be a no, however I do have to accept that most of the shops I visit are only open 9-5 and most not on a Sunday, and I can understand how that would create a difficulty for some, and until recently it would have made it very difficult for me too. 

I have, however, got myself into a bit of a routine; just like we all seem to do with our shopping! I have my favourite and regular shops, the ones that I automatically visit:

  • My weekly veg box from Woodhouse Farm & Garden.  I love this as it keeps me on my toes thinking about the new ways I can use up the variety of produce.
  • Once I've got a few ideas then its off to Packington Moor Farm Shop, this is also where I tend to do my big shop of store cupboard items such as tinned tomatoes, butter, sauces etc
  • Packington Farm Shop, this is also where I tend to do my big shop of store cupboard items such as tinned tomatoes, butter, sauces etc
  • Walter Smith and KR Evans are the two butchers I use if I'm shopping in Lichfield City, I am a bit like a kid in a sweet shop when visiting butchers and I invariably end up leaving with at least 8 days worth of meat products!
  • I visit Lichfield Market if I'm in town on a market day, I love the veg stall, they always seem to have loads of lovely fruit and veg, and often something a bit unusual for me to try.  And I love it when the WI have a stall so I can legitimately treat myself to a nice cake for tea 

I wish we had a proper deli in the city centre, maybe someone reading this article will open one up for me soon?

So far my shop local challenge has been both enjoyable and worthwhile,  I regularly have a chat with the shop owners, and my customer buying experience has increased as a result of shopping locally.  I’m still discovering new gems and at the moment if I never set foot back inside a soulless supermarket again it would be a blessing.

About the Author

Wendy H

Member since: 27th November 2015

I love living in Lichfield, it's easy to support local businesses as we have a wealth of fabulous independent retailers. My real passion is food, not only do I love to cook, but I love to eat out even...

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