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26 June, 2017 - 13:44 By Kate Sweeney

Sales of local produce plough £57m back into region’s economy

Asparagus

The East of England Co-op has seen sales of local food and drink produce rise to £972,050 during its Sourced Locally Fortnight – a 5.9 per cent increase from last year’s event.

The annual initiative is held by the Co-op to encourage shoppers to support local businesses by making one swap in their basket for something local. More than 60,000 punnets of local strawberries and nearly 7,000 bunches of asparagus were sold during the fortnight, which comes as the Co-op celebrates a landmark decade of its award-winning Sourced Locally initiative.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “In true co-operative spirit, colleagues and producers across the region came together to talk about the importance of ‘shopping local’. That hard work has paid off and the figures speak for themselves.

“The Sourced Locally initiative has gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years and we are proud to be keeping money in our regional economy and improving choice for our customers.

“It has been fantastic to celebrate 10 years of Sourced Locally but our heads are now firmly focused on the future and our continued commitment to championing East Anglian produce.”

Local businesses to benefit from the Co-op’s Sourced Locally initiative include Fairfields Farm Crisps, of which 11,560 packets were sold, and St Peter’s Brewery which sold 4,833 bottles of beer.

Helping shoppers make the switch to local was a special ‘ham, egg and chips’ meal promotion, with Taste of Suffolk Sandwich Ham, Havensfield Eggs and potatoes from farms across the region available for £5. Throughout the fortnight, producers visited East of England Co-op food stores to showcase their produce and offer samples.

Sourced Locally was created by the East of England Co-op in 2007 to support local producers and has since ploughed £57 million back into the region’s economy.

The Co-op marked the pivotal anniversary of Sourced Locally by bringing together ten of the region’s top producers for an iconic portrait by award-winning photographer Jenny Lewis. The all-female shot was commissioned to celebrate the 10 inspiring women helping to lead the future of food and drink production.

More than 3,500 products are now available in the Sourced Locally range, from more than 100 local suppliers across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The initiative continues to reduce food miles, limit waste and enhance food quality in the region. Sourced Locally has helped created 400 new jobs in the region and turnover for local produce reached £17.5m in 2016.

Kiss Communications

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