SHOPPERS reduce their carbon footprint by buying 40% more local products from a regional cooperative than five years ago.
The figures were released by Southern Co-op as it celebrates a milestone anniversary for its local food and drink line – 15 years of local flavors.
With 80 convenience stores across Hampshire and a number of local growers, the Local Flavors team will visit five Hampshire growers in May and June to recognize the hard work that has gone into making this possible – ChalkStream Foods, The Meon Spirit Company with Hill Farm Juice, Curry on Wheels, Laverstoke Park and Claytons Eggs.
Southern Co-op has worked with Laverstoke Park for over a decade. It is a farm spread over 2,500 acres near Overton owned and managed by former racing driver and Formula 1 world champion Jody Scheckter.
He wanted to create an agricultural environment that would follow nature as closely as possible, combining 21st century science and the most environmentally friendly farming methods available.
Alexandra Munday, Sales and Marketing Manager at Laverstoke Park Farm, said: “We have been supplying Southern Co-op for over 10 years with our products and in particular our organic buffalo mozzarella.
“They are a friendly team to work with and we take great pleasure in telling our local customers that they can find our products from the convenience of a trusted local store such as Southern Co-op. As our brand grows and we expand our range, we hope they will continue to grow with us.”
Southern Co-op’s Local Flavors range was first introduced in 2007 on the Isle of Wight and supports farmers and growers, bringing the best local food and drink from across southern England to its convenience stores .
It currently includes around 2,000 products from over 200 vendors.
In 2021, more than 3.5 million products were sold in its Local Flavors range, an increase of 40% compared to just over 2.5 million in 2017.
Matt Elliott, Southern Co-op’s Retail Buying and Services Manager, responsible for the Local Flavors line, said, “Southern Co-op’s enthusiasm for local food and drink comes from the incredible flavors , dedicated people behind the products and environmental benefits.
“As an independent regional co-operative, we strive to be a sustainable and responsible business and our Saveurs Locales range is just one of the ways we achieve this. Over the past 15 years we have developed relationships amazing with our Local Flavors producers and uncovered hidden talents that were then stocked on shelves across the country.”
Each county where Southern Co-op trades has a range of bespoke local flavors that can include cheeses, yogurts, cream, ice cream, cakes and baked goods, sandwiches, meats, fish or beer.
Will Dobson, owner of Hill Farm Juice, said: “Southern Co-op began working with Hill Farm Juice from the earliest days when the Local Flavors line was launched. Since then, we have worked closely together.
“Partnering with Southern Co-op, for us as a small business, gives us a chance to get our brand in front of local customers who might not necessarily see us otherwise.
“The most notable thing about working with Southern Co-op on a Local Flavors basis, compared to my previous role with buyers nationwide, is that it’s much more enjoyable and I can phone n any Local Flavors team whenever we need to discuss the business and we now have a relationship that is measured in years rather than months.”
To find out more about the Southern Co-op’s Local Flavors range, visit thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/food/local-flavours/.