Sales of locally-sourced food and drink soar during lockdown

Fergus Howie, owner of Wicks Manor in Essex Picture: RAE SHIRLEY

Fergus Howie, owner of Wicks Manor in Essex Picture: RAE SHIRLEY - Credit: RAE SHIRLEY

The sale of locally-produced food and drinks soared across the region during lockdown, sales data has revealed.

Sales of locally-produced products under the East of England Co-Op’s Sourced Locally range are up £1.1million compared to this time last year, with 35% of shoppers asked by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) saying they were purchasing more produced made locally.

It comes as the region followed a nationwide trend which has seen the sales of groceries rise by nearly 17% in the three months to mid-July – with some of the biggest beneficiaries including Suffolk’s Havensfield Eggs, who saw sales at the Co-Op increase by 71%. Essex-based Marriage’s millers and sausage-maker Wicks Manor reporting sales increases of 454% and 118% respectively.

The range, introduced in 2007, has helped to create and protect hundreds of jobs in the region, and generated millions of pounds locally. It now partners with 110 suppliers across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex and is made up of 2,000 product lines.

Fergus Howie, owner of Wicks Manor, said: “Since we became a Sourced Locally partner in 2010, the East of England Co-op has been one of our biggest supporters.

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“In recent months, we’ve worked hard in collaboration with the East of England Co-op to increase our production to meet demand. It’s been busy, but it’s very satisfying to know our products are being enjoyed by people in our communities during this challenging time.”

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive for the East of England Co-op, said he believes sales will continue to rise due to growing care for sustainability, traceability and quality among customers.

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Mr Grosvenor said: “Our customers have loved our local range for a very long time. It’s one of the things we’re known for in our communities.

“The coronavirus crisis has seen our members and customers get behind our Sourced Locally partners with even more gusto. Whether it’s ingredients for an evening meal, baking supplies or treats to bring comfort at home during a difficult period, our local food and drink has truly been appreciated over the past few months.

“Behind every product on our shelves is a passionate local team of producers or farmers, who have been working around the clock to keep food in our baskets.”

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