Supermarkets should have aisles for local produce, Tories suggest

Supermarkets should have dedicated shelves and aisles for goods created in their local area, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

Shops would be able to point customers to fresh food and drink made locally, supporting nearby smaller firms in the process, according to the party.

Brian Whittle, the Scottish Conservative’s wellbeing and sport spokesman argued it would be a straightforward change for supermarkets to make, expanding options for customers and encouraging healthier consumption.

“Most major supermarkets have sections showcasing food from around the world, so there’s no reason why this can’t be replicated specifically for local produce,” he said.

“It would signpost people to where they can get food and drink made in their local area, which will be popular among those passionate about supporting small, local businesses.

“The relationship between major supermarkets and local firms hasn’t always been great, but this presents an opportunity to improve that.

“And if shoppers aren’t keen on this and want to continue as normal, they can just walk straight past.”

He added: “For smaller producers who might struggle to meet the demands of a nationwide contract, this would be a chance to build lasting relationships with major retailers.

“A local produce aisle would also give consumers the opportunity to support local firms without losing the convenience of being able to buy a wide range of products under one roof.

“We know Scots’ diets need to improve, and buying fresh, local produce is an important way of doing that.

“With some government support and the goodwill of major retailers, there’s no reason why this cannot become a reality.”

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, also said: “Grocery retailers are the largest buyers of Scottish produce, and stock a considerable range extending from fresh agricultural produce and seafood to an expanding selection of craft beers, alcohol and bakery products.”

Mr Lonsdale argued that stores increasingly highlight when produce comes from Scotland and put a greater focus on promotions to tie in with Scottish-specific events such as Burns Night and Hogmanay.

He added: “Grocery retailers play a crucial role in exporting Scottish products throughout their stores in the UK and even abroad.

“This strong record also extends to helping consumers make an informed choice when they want to buy Scottish or British through clear country of origin labelling.

“Indeed the major grocery retailers are the only food companies that have agreed to these principles.

“Our members are always happy to demonstrate the availability and quality of Scottish produce and the suppliers they work with.”

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